In commemoration of the international day of the girl child, Nigerian government and society have been urged to desist gender-partisan dealings and embrace equality in opportunities.
The 2018 edition themed, “With Her: A Skilled GirlForce” in Lagos was organised by HACEY Health Initiative in collaboration with Music For Development and supported by Access Bank Plc. It hosted students, members of private and public institutions and parents at Queens College to mark the global day.
HACEY’s Director of Gender Development Program, Ms Rhoda Robinson, said the major challenge of a Nigerian girl child was access to quality education and gender inequality in Nigeria.
“The key to girls’ empowerment is to enable access to quality and continuous education, end violence and discrimination against women and girls,” Robinson said.
While stating other societal issues that are detrimental of the girl child, she urged parents and guardians to stop the harmful practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
She noted that HACEY’s mission to promote health and empowerment necessitated the decision to chose to mark the day to align with the Sustainable Development Goals stated by the United Nations.
“We have a mission to promote the health, empowerment, and rights of the women and girls in Nigeria, hence, this major event will engage teenage students from secondary schools across Lagos state, out of school adolescents, youths in partnership with governments and non-governmental organisations, celebrities and social influencers.”
Also speaking, the founder of Mother’s Delivery Kit, Adepeju Jaiyeoba called on government and corporate organisation to review the gender ratio of employment to give room for the females to make better contributions in all sectors of the country.
“There should be a source of inspiration for females to want to do more. Look at the difference in government, women are behind, even in private organisations. You see people who still believe a woman should not head in government or organisation.”
She, however, expressed optimism that “things are getting better than what they used to be before. More women are challenging in the private sector. But, I believe it will improve if the set of women doing Nigeria proud do not give up.”
The representative of John Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programme, Edun Omasanjuwa said the significance of the day was to “task ourselves that female children have a lot to give back to the society.”