Educate and empower girls to become economically self supporting
Failing to empower girls while they are still of tender age has made girls and women vulnerable to gender based and domestic violence, gender inequality plus making them victims of sexism. Most girls from both rural and urban areas both literate and illiterate are made to think that patriarchy is good for women. We are raised to fear men literally and figuratively,we are made to think that men should always take the lead and that our role is to make a home, to be a mother, a wife and although that could be true, all this is not for our own benefit but for someone else and if we don’t empower girls to learn to put their happiness, dreams, goals and lives first, then the issues affecting women today will be generational.
I believe and know that if girls are taught to exploit their skills and utilise all available opportunities, live honestly and with integrity, engage in entrepreneurial and skills based work, the present and future generation woman will be economically empowered and self supporting. And with this self support comes an opportunity for them to put themselves first when they have to choose between remaining in an abusive relationship or becoming homeless.
The magnitude, severity and consistency of gender based inequalities, patriarchy and sexism have provoked attitudes of resignation, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and compassion fatigue all because girls do not believe they can fight for their sit at the table and take part in decision making because society has made us think we are less important. But if we girls were economically empowered and self supporting then we would have a stepping stone into the fight for our place in society.
We owe it to the young generation to to teach girls to exploit whatever skills they got, to learn entrepreneurial skills, to join different platforms and gain knowledge and experience that can help them grow economically and become independent because for as long as girls think they need men to become financially stable and self supporting, their rights will continue to be violated and the gender based issues will continue to suffice. This is a progressive approach so irrespective of the resources we have, let us take immediate action and empower one girl or two whenever we get the opportunity. Let us together eliminate discrimination, gender based inequalities, sexism by empowering girls and assuring them that they have the capacity and freedom to live a life in dignity, to take the lead and exploit all genuine opportunities so that they can sustain an independent honest living.
Let us dispel the myths that a girl’s biggest achievement is marriage and shift the focus from teaching them ways on how to please men and how to look good and stories up the atmosphere, to equipping them with knowledge and ways on how to win in this patriarchal society. Let girls know that they are a priority, that their happiness matters and that they have potential and capacity to lead. Teach them that their dreams are valid and that they shouldn’t allow anything to stop them from achieving them. Empowering girls to become self supporting will set a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth.
Today many girls are victims of sexism and they don’t even know it, all the body shaming that sends them looking for ways of perfecting their bodies because they think they aren’t perfect, giving in to sexual harassment because they want to keep their places at work all because they think their capabilities aren’t enough, opting for particular jobs because they want to feel useful or because their efforts weren’t appreciated somewhere else, settling for lower positions at work because all the important positions are left for men… It’s a very unfortunate reality but we still have people in this century who confidently say that women are weak and every time I find myself having a conversation with such people, it hurts me but at the same time motivates me to join the good fight and stand up for the girl child.
Let us use every opportunity we get to teach girls and empower them to learn ways on how to become economically self supporting because this way girls and women will be able to achieve their full potential and advance their rights and all forms of gender based inequalities, discrimination and sexism will be eradicated from our communities giving girls and women an opportunity to stand out and take the lead in all institutions knowing that their lives, voices and happiness matter.