Empowering the girl child in Nigeria

Religious misinterpretations, poverty, teenage pregnancy and early marriage amongst others are factors hindering the girl-child in Nigeria.

Despite accounting for 94.2million out of the 200 million population of Nigeria, the female gender is relegated, treated as second class citizens in the country. A female child is typically perceived to be a weaker being designated to just reproduce, cook and do other household chores compared to her male counterpart.

In a bid to address this situation, the United Nations marks October 11 as the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ which intends to promote girls’ human rights, highlight gender inequalities and other challenges militating the female gender.

The unfair treatment of the female child, especially in regards to education has driven a lot of concern in Nigeria as the average rural Nigerian parent would rather invest in the education of the son rather than the daughter.

The war to be relevant for the girl child in Nigeria starts as early as the age of five, unlike their male counterparts. Although the narrative that a girl is an inferior gender is changing in some parts of Nigeria, the northern part of the country is especially unyielding. Statistics show that literate women constitute only 20% from the North -West, 20% North- East, and 45% from the North Central. The rather grim figures evinces how women are viewed compared to men in Northern Nigeria. With little or no access to education, the girl child is limited.

Even where there are considerable provisions for the education of the girl-child in Nigeria, education is neither qualitative nor treated as a right to the girl child.

It is clear that the lack of access to quality education and opportunities of the female gender contributes to the stunted growth of Nigeria. The girl child must be treated better for Nigeria’s development.

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