India celebrates January 24 as National Girl Child Day. The day is marked out to observe and do away with inequalities faced by girl children in Indian society. It is a day that is meant to raise citizen’s conscientiousness with regard to sub-human treatment meted out to little girls, right from even before they are born! While the country has officially banned sex determination tests to terminate pregnancies if the foetus is a female, yet a good number still find devious ways to find out the sex of their unborn child.
National Girl Child Day therefore focuses on drawing attention to improving the status of the girl child in our society. It is time we made certain that girls get proper reverence and are not only valued as human beings but are ensured of their human rights. We still have a long way to go in maintaining the correct child sex ratio for which we have to work towards changing the warped mindsets with regard to the birth of girls.
The National Girl Child Day should focus on couples to increase their understanding that girls are important and have a definite role to play in society. Demographically and in every other sense to make the world a more balanced and harmonious place to live in. And for doing this we need to facilitate the issues that are considered a burden in raising girls. We have to give them equal opportunities in provision of the fundamental needs of a child – health, education, nutrition and individual choices.
India is still caught up with patriarchal thinking and it is now up to the new generation to initiate and propagate gender equality among its peoples. National Girl Child Day needs to filter down to every warp and weft of our society to offer every support and opportunity to girls everywhere – urban-rural or rich-poor. Increased awareness will lead to lesser inequalities and give more chances for education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, job opportunities and decision making.
Apart from these basic needs girls upon attaining maturity need to be given freedom for personal choices like employment, marriage and rights over resources and property. It is therefore important to formulate this day in a manner of mission for creating vital changes for the girl child. Mothers and fathers have to learn to make meaningful contributions in the lives of girl children so that they are given proactive support to live their full lives.
This special day therefore hopes to promote the girls significance and status to make way for a more just and gender equal society. This is extremely important to do away with the rigid social biases that we exercise on them throughout their lives. We need to speak up from every platform – civic, social and political about the urgent need to reform the status of the girl child and pave the path for her to be free from discrimination and exploitation.
Let us all mark this day as a starting point to offer opportunities to girls to gain their full potential in a secure and facilitative setting. Let us offer them good education, nutrition and health care rights. Let us educate them regarding their physiology and reproductive health. Let us take part in this mission to fight all backward thinking and social stigma attached to the birth of a girl child. HERD Foundation looks ahead to a day in the near future when we witness pomp and music at the birth of girls.
(Images – Courtesy Google)