Knowledge is power and one of the fundamental ways to acquire knowledge is through education. Education is an empowerment tool that enables girls to have power, knowledge, control and responsibility over their lives. An educated girl tends to be more informed about their health, nutrition, reproductive health, choose when and who to marry, achieve their dreams that help them to take on greater economic role in their families and society and most importantly amplify their voice and autonomy in decisions concerning her lives as well as learn new skills for the future they envision. Girls acquiring education is not only a basic human right they are entitled to but also has multiplier effect across all other spheres of her life.
With thousands and millions of children out of school, the pandemic has only made it precarious for a girl child to thrive with lesser opportunities to grow which burden falls disproportionately on a girl child whose education is accorded with low value in some societies, families and culture. Covid 19, closure of schools has increased domestic work within households, exposure to sexual and gender-based violence and this burdensomely falls on girls reducing their time and ability to engage in constructive education and schoolwork. According to United Nations (UN)nearly 1in 4 girls worldwide aged 15-19 years are neither employed nor in education or training compared to 1in 10 boys of the same age.
Even though girls face undeniably tough challenges in achieving access to their education ,many girls are burdened with household responsibilities, care work, feeding their siblings yet many of these come from income limited households ravaged by Covid 19 heightening the poverty levels were families live below the poverty line ;can’t afford a daily meal forcing them to look at girls as means and an end to earn a living and food by giving them into marriage while others send them to find odd jobs .
Given the high levels of unemployment and limited skills to find a decent job, many young girls find themselves working in the informal sector that’s not regulated and characterize almost the entire population of the country working under harsh working conditions, exposed to risks like teenage pregnancy, defilement at home and work with the incongruence’s and inconsistencies in the policy and legal framework many girls are falling prey to child brides, abuse and exploitation.
With the high levels of teenage pregnancies & child marriage exacerbated by Covid-19 , no access to education and closure of schools ,harmful cultural norms ,religion continue to plague many girls and thus reduced opportunities in generations to come with the highly correlated interplay between child marriage ,teenage pregnancy and education.
The theme, this year, is “Digital generation. Our generation”. Girls know their digital realities and the solutions they need to excel on their diverse pathways as technologists for freedom of expression, joy, and boundless potential. Let’s amplify the diversity of these tech trailblazers while simultaneously widening the pathways so that every girl, this generation of girls – regardless of race, gender, language, ability, economic status and geographic origin – lives their full potential.
Let us support & celebrate our girls…. Our generation!