A brighter future for girls | Sunday Observer
International Day of the Girl Child

A brighter future for girls

14 October, 2018


We celebrated International Children’s Day on October 1, but if you are a girl, October 11 is also a special day for you. This is because since 2012, October 11 has been marked as the International Day of the Girl Child. The day aims to highlight the needs andchallenges girls face, while promoting their rights. Every year, this is celebrated under a different theme. This year’s theme is “WithHer: A Skilled Girl Force”.

You too will enter the job market in a few years. Today's generation of girls are preparing to enter a world of work being transformed by innovation and automation. Many jobs are still dominated by men but more women are entering these jobs.

Educated and skilled workers are in great demand, but roughly a quarter of young people– most of them female – are not employed or in education or training. Over 600million adolescent girls who are now schooling will enter the global workforce in the next decade. On the International Day of the Girl Child, countries around the world have promised to expand existing learning opportunities for girls.

Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, butalso as they become women.

Over the last 15 years, the world has made significant progress in improving the lives of girls during early childhood. In 2018, girls in the first decade of life are more likely to enroll in primary school, receive key vaccinations, and are less likely to suffer from health and nutrition problems.

However, there is insufficient focus in addressing the challenges girls face when they enter the second decade of their lives.

This includes obtaining secondary and higher education, receiving information and services related to puberty and reproductive health, and domestic violence. Education being the most vital part of a girl’s upbringing, Sri Lanka is one of the few countries in the region where girls face no discrimination in education, but they can still face more problems than boys. It is also vital to educate boys on the fact that girls are equal to them in every way.

Sports play an important part in increasing the self-confidence of girls. Parents and teachers must encourage more girls to take up sports in schools islandwide, especially previously boys-only sports such as Rugby. Moreover, participation in sports and other extra-curricular activities (debating, quiz and science club) is seen as a plus point for many jobs.

Today’s girl is tomorrow’s young woman and potential future leader. Schools must encourage girls to take up leadership positions at school level (captain of sports teams and prefect) so that they get an idea of leadership. They should be allowed to think and act independently.

Girls also have to be protected by various evils in society so that they can grow up in a climate of freedom and fun.

Parents and teachers have a major role to play in guiding girl children on the correct path. Such girls will be an asset to the country and the world when they grow up.