Because I am a girl!
"> Photo: StarFor a women the world is of inequality. This is true worldwide. This is true in every walk of her life, such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence and so on.
It begins from the very birth day she steps into the patriarch world. A girl child is taught in her very childhood that 'you are a girl, so you have to maintain this and that rules'. When she grows up she suffers eve-teasing, sexual harassment in and outside of the house. She breaths in fear, lives in tears, a life of gender discrimination, a life without rights.
That's why a sense of equality should be first dreamt and felt by a girl child. She should be given the scope of meaningful participation in building her own world which is free of discrimination and violence and promotes and protects full and effective enjoyment of a human life.
The fulfilment of girls' right to education is first and foremost requirement. This is a powerful means of converting not only a girl's life but also that of her whole family. It determines development, health, poverty reduction and a tendency to social change.
Only education can give a girl independence in her life. It does not mean only traditional education; it can be any education that can change a her life.
Empowering girls requires their active participation in decision-making processes and the active support and engagement of their parents, legal guardians, families and care providers, as well as boys and men and the wider community.
Many girls, particularly the most marginalised, continue to be deprived of this basic right. Girls in many countries are still unable to attend school and complete their education due to safety-related as well as financial, institutional and cultural barriers.
For many of them, the family thinks that sending the girl to school deprives the home of an income and provides her an opportunity to escape household tasks. Society must play a proactive role in saving the girl child from such damaging prejudices.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, said Nelson Mandela. We have observed the struggle of Malala and how, bracing mayhem in Swat, she advocated for girls' education. Now her struggle becomes a symbol for the fight for education across the country. We salute her.
According to ILO survey 2006, almost 4, 21,000 child domestic workers are in Bangladesh, of whom most are girls. National Child Labour Survey 2010 says we have almost 1, 25, 000 child domestic workers who belong to age group of 5 to 17. Hundreds of girl children leave their schools and families to work in towns and cities. For many reasons they are compelled to work in others houses. It is thought as the easiest way of earning. As demands for girl domestic workers are more than boys, so their parents send the daughters to work and keep the sons busy in schools. It is a very common picture of our villages.
They are often tortured mentally and physically by their masters. We find many horrifying news of that in media. Most of them are full time workers, so they are deprived from pursuing further education; whereas sometimes they also have to do jobs hazardous to life. More pathetic is that many of them are sexually exploited by their employers. People's awareness is very much necessary to protect these girls from mistreatment.
It's true that we cannot stop them from working at other's homes but we can make their living better there. If their employers give them better food, clothing, medical care and above all education, then it will be a chance for them to improve their lives from poverty. Quite a few NGOs in Bangladesh work on this kind of girl domestic workers to enrich their lives by giving free primary education. It is found that usually their employers don't want to allow them to get education from these institutions. Employers' mind changing process is very slow. If nationwide people from all walks of life take part in educating them, a revolution will occur.
This is one section's picture. Those who belong to middle or upper class families also sometimes have to face the brutal bites of social dogma. Consciously or unconsciously most of the families show gender inequality towards their children. We have to remember, “Daughters are flowers that are forever in bloom.” But instead of blooming they lose shine at the very early stages of life. Truly, it is nipping in the bud.
If a girl is always compelled to think “I cannot do this or that “because I am a girl”, it is a failure of our society. The must be a call “Save the future mothers and grandmothers. Save Girls!”
The greatest challenge is: how to bring in a revolution of heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us”.
The writer is Senior Lecturer Dept. of English, ASA University Bangladesh.