Women Empowerment, Impossible without Protecting Girl Child. A call for CSRAbility India
In 2012, United Nations declared October 11 as the International Girl Child Day. The aim behind this day is to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
The observation supports more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. This inequality includes areas such as right to education/access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence and child marriage. The celebration of the day also “reflects the successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct cohort in development policy, programming, campaigning and research. This year, International Day of the Girl will focus on the theme, “EmPOWER girls: Before, during and after conflict“.
There are 1.1 billion girls in the world, and every one of them deserves equal opportunities for a better future. They are a source of energy, power and creativity. They can drive change and help build a better future for all. Yet, most girls face disadvantage and discrimination on a daily basis, and those living through crises are suffering even more.
There are nearly 600 million girls aged 10 to 19 in the world today, each with limitless individual potential, however they are disappearing from public awareness and the international development agenda. Between inequities in secondary education to protection issues, adolescent girls are uniquely impacted and should benefit from targeted investments and programmes that address their distinct needs. Investing in adolescent girls can have a formidable ripple effect to create a better world by 2030.
Discrimination against girls in India has been going on since ages now. Even today, there are several sections of the Indian society where the girl child is treated as a burden. While several privileges are given to the boys; girls are often restricted to the confines of house and given very little or no opportunities to learn and grow in life. It is a matter of great shame that cases of female infanticide are still reported. As per the figures of 2011 census, there are just 918 girls in India for 1000 boys.
Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence. In humanitarian emergencies, gender-based violence often increases, subjecting girls to sexual and physical violence, child marriage, exploitation and trafficking. Adolescent girls in conflict zones are 90 per cent more likely to be out of school when compared to girls in conflict-free countries, compromising their future prospects for work and financial independence as adults.
Across the world, empowered girls are raising their voices to fight for their rights and protection in all contexts. They are working to end violence against women and girls, to recognize indigenous rights, and to build peaceful and cohesive communities.
In such a scenario, the role of the
government and NGOs becomes all the more important in order to ensure that
girls are allowed to be born and flourish in life. Support charities like Save
the Children to
contribute your bit in spreading awareness about the importance of girl child.
Why it is important to save and educate girls
In order to achieve true women empowerment, it is important that we begin with the girl children. This is because girls of today are the women of tomorrow. The role of social welfare organizations is critical here as it is not possible for the government to reach every nook and corner of the country. As the aware citizens, we can support organizations which work for the eradication of female infanticide and women empowerment. Donations to them serve two purposes: driving change in the society and providing tax benefits to the donor.
Some yardsticks of women empowerment are:
Helping women carve a positive self-image and increase their confidence level
Enabling them to develop the ability to think critically.
Ensuring that they have equal participation in decision making, whether it’s in the family or at the community level
Providing economic independence to women The mindset that a girl is a liability needs to be changed and this requires happening at the grass root level. While spreading awareness is critical, there is a need of stricter laws in place which deter people from resorting to female foeticide.
The role of education is extremely important here and goes a long way in empowering women. And the process of education has to begin early in life. More and more girl children need to be sent to school, provided quality and holistic education. Numerous benefits come with educating girls the right way. Educated girls are able to take the right decisions in life. For example, when an educated girl falls sick, she will have better understanding and awareness to avail proper healthcare services. At the same time, a society in which girls are educated will see less child marriages, decreased levels of poverty and heightened participation of women in socio-economic processes. Educating a girl has far-reaching impacts. It is rightly said that when a woman is educated, an entire generation benefits from it.
Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao Scheme (BBBP) of the Indian Government
Literally meaning ‘Educate the Girl Child, Save the Girl Child’ the Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao Scheme is an ambitious scheme of the Government of India which is intended to generate massive awareness, improvement of quality of welfare services for females and helping them (girls and women) access these services better. Introduced in October of 2014, the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme goes on to address the declining Child Sex Ratio in the country. The scheme is being rolled out through pan-India campaigns with focus on 100 worst-performing districts in terms of CSR. It is a joint initiative of three important Central Government ministries – the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Human Resource Development.