This article is by GPI girl Ewanose Ikede as part of the Blog for International Women’s Day programme.
Girls need safe, structured places to learn and link to basic services that, if absent, can prevent them from learning and functioning within our society. Thus, people’s culture and the global community at large need to positively involve, educate, and inspire them with a view to bringing out the best in them, for the benefit of the society.
Everyone (especially women) needs to inspire today’s girl child by positively influencing her all round development. One of the basic roles of the society in doing this lies in the area of cultural practices. The structure and practice of the African society for instance, limits the scope of the girl in almost in all ramifications. Females in general, are basically limited to domestic functions. They are not given the chance to fairly compete with the male folks, whether politically, religiously or otherwise. The saddest aspect is that of the few women who have been able to break into the mainstream of the society, a greater percentage of them have refused, neglected and/or failed to inspire our today’s girls either by their actions or inactions.
Some of the ways to positively inspire, involve and educate our today’s girls is for everyone to provide safe, conducive and effective environment for our girls to get inspired and educated and thus, get them involved in the general development of our society. To achieve this, girls need the following:
Physical and Psychological Safety: Safe and health-promoting facilities, practices that increase safe peer group interaction among our girls and decrease unsafe or confrontational peer interactions need to be in place.
Supportive Relationships: Warmth, closeness, connectedness, good communication, caring, support, guidance, secure attachment, and responsiveness should be provided for our girls. Thus, helping to get them inspired to exploit their potentials.
Opportunities to Belong: Opportunities for meaningful inclusion, regardless of one’s gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disabilities; social inclusion, social engagement and integration; opportunities for socio-cultural identity formation; support for cultural and bicultural competence must be given to our today’s girls.
Positive Social Norms: Rules of behavior, expectations, injunctions, ways of doing things, values and morals, obligations for service should be equitably applied notwithstanding the gender.
Support for Efficacy: Girl-based empowerment practices that support autonomy, making a real difference in one’s community, and being taken seriously. Practices that includes enabling, responsibility granting, meaningful challenge. Practices that focus on improvement also ways to educate and inspire our today’s girls.
Opportunities for Skill Building: Another way to educate and inspire our today’s girls include opportunities to learn physical, intellectual, psychological, emotional, social skills; exposure to intentional learning experiences; opportunities to learn cultural literacy, media literacy, communication skills, and good habits of mind; preparation for adult employment; opportunities to develop social and cultural capital.
Conclusively, support, opportunity, social competence and physical competence, are some the ways to positively involve, educate and inspire girls today. By way of advice, females need to unite and work collectively for the benefit of our girls. According to an Ethiopian Proverb, “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion”.
- International Women’s Day 2012 (gpibenin.wordpress.com)
- Blog for International Women’s Day #blogforiwd #iwd #internationalwomensday (jennywongyvr.wordpress.com)
- International Women’s Day 2012 (martinspribble.com)
- Message by Juan Somavia Director-General of the ILO on the occasion of International Women’s Day (gpibenin.wordpress.com)