By Chidinma Chukwu, Abuja.
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the international day of the girl child, Oxfam in Nigeria is advocating for the promotion of the rights of girls in Nigeria.
In his address during a webinar organised by Oxfam to mark the day, the Country Director of Oxfam in Nigeria, Constant Tchona called for a radical social and political change that will lead to the eradication of discrimination and prejudice that continue to hold girls back in all areas.
Tchona stressed the need to make case for Nigerian women and girls who have been faced with so many issues ranging from, rape, female genital mutilation, gender based violence, marginalisation, early marriage among others. He noted that the world would be a better place if the female genders are as happy as the other gender.
The theme for the year’s celebration “My Voice, Our Equal Future” is focused on young and adolescent girls. It also encourages young generation of activists to accelerate social change.
“The theme is meant to reinforce the message around challenging gender stereotypes, fighting bias, broadening perceptions, improving women and girl’s participation at all levels of the economy and celebrating the achievements of women and girls.
“This year’s event will celebrate change makers of all ages & genders and discuss how they can collectively tackle the unfinished business of empowering all women and girls in the years to come”
“The observance of the International Day of the Girl Child aims to bring together the next generation of young girl leaders and gender equality activists, women rights advocates and visionaries who will will be instrumental in creating the much needed change in promoting the rights of women and girls” Tchona stressed.
Delivering a lecture titled ‘My Voice, our equal future’ the wife of the Ekiti State governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi called for the prioritisation of girls education stressing that statistics by United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF indicated that 60% of the over 13 million out of school children are girls.
She also reiterated that pregnant girls be allowed to stay in school because the male counterpart who impregnated them are in school.
Mrs Fayemi who pointed out that communities have major role to play in addressing issues that affects girls especially under patriarchal beliefs and social norms said sensitisation and awareness campaign is key.
The Ekiti State first lady also said that mothers must be empowered in order to raise the boys that will respect themselves and the girl child.
She however called on the private sector, development partners and cooperate bodies to come out and support the next generation.
18 years old undergraduate and young girl activist, Oyinkansola Adesewa urged that the girl child be given a voice in the society.
The international day of the girl child is commemorated on the 11th of October every year to celebrate the power of girls and highlight the barriers they face since the United Nations adopted it as the International Day of the Girl in December 2011.