Since 2012, 11 October has been marked as the International Day of the Girl. The day aims to underscore and draw attention towards the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. The theme for this year is: With her: A skilled girl force.
The theme of International Day of the Girl Child 2018 is ‘A Skilled Girl force’. It lays emphasis on education and skill enhancement required for the girl child today so that she enters the workforce fully skilled, up-to-date with the technology and digitization, a decade from now.
But the world is not yet ready to include her in the workforce. There is a huge gap in the financial status between the two gender. There is exploitation of labor and workplace harassment/abuse. The idea behind such a theme is to draw attention to come together and address investment needs and opportunities for the girl child to pave way for their smooth transition to a happy and fulfilled work life!
But before she steps into the outside world lets peek into the lives of girls before that. The gender ratio till date is skewed which is a indicator in itself that still the girl child is unwanted. Sex determination tests are legally prohibited but many do it on the sly, and many girls die even before their first cry. Certain villages in India drown baby girls in pots of milk believing that milk cleanses them of the sin of infanticide. The irony is, they forget that they are killing future mothers who too would have milked a child at their breast. When you kill a girl you kill a whole generation to come, a family that could have been and above all a person who could have been your doctor, teacher, lawyer, architect… only if you had let her live.
I came across a strong video by famous motivational speaker Dima Ghawi (https://www.goalcast.com/2018/06/26/dima-ghawi/) . Here she talk about how girls are conditioned early in life to believe and behave in a certain manner. She speaks about her personal journey and how she overcame her fears to reach where she is. But what resonates in her video is one thought. Its an oft heard remark by the elders that the life of a girl is like a glass vase. Once broken it cannot be mended. If a girl is raped, the society shuns her and she is raped on a daily basis through news, different versions and by the peering eyes. She is said to have tarnished the family name and honor. The society then looks for reasons to brand her a slut and prove that she brought it upon her. Here I would like to ask what folly did a 3 month old or 5 year old girl child do that a beast in human form would ravage her and destroy her chances for normal life?
The Kathua rape case saw an uproar in the society, thinking of the bestiality of the incident. Here too, the criminals chose to rape an innocent child to scare away the families. The motive behind the gory act was to Drive out the nomadic Muslim community of Bakarwals from Hiranagar Tehsil. But the question that arises is: Is rape the only way to scare? What wrong did the child do except being born into the community? The incident still sends me into revulsion and to think that the main priest is prime accused only makes it murkier. If the so called people of God now get down to such levels, what respite does the girl child have otherwise?
Since early age girls are asked to behave themselves, cover themselves up or else they invite unwanted attention. If a girl has more guy friends than girls, she is labelled as promiscuous. She is not supposed to laugh loud, it shows that she lacks proper upbringing. A glass in her hand means she has no character and hence even her no is consent to have sex with her. If the bra strap shows she is immediately asked to cover herself. Do we do the same with boys? If the strap of a ganji/ innerwear is seen underneath a shirt why is it seen as manly, and in a girl it is cheap and asking for attention.
The society still treats its girl child as a burden that needs to packed, marketed and sold in the marriage market. And the funny part is that the girl’s parents pay the boy for taking her into their home and not the reverse. She is like chattel that can be transferred to another owner. She has no voice/ say in her own life.
If a girl makes a remarkable achievement, her parents unknowingly belittle her with their remarks, ” Yeh hamara beta hai”. Why is the performance still measured with the yardstick of gender? Why isn’t her success and performance her own? The changes for a girl child to be really accepted in the society has to start at her own home. Think what you are doing….