The Girl Child

Girls are often more vulnerable to different forms of gender-based violence, abuse, and exploitation. They continue to suffer from several forms of discrimination and inequality especially in rural areas. There are a number of traditional and cultural practices that negatively affect girls.

There is also low participation of the girl child in education and in public life in general. Factors that contribute to this position include low persistence in school, low achievement, low quality of education and sexual and other forms of abuse in the school. The lack of education perpetuates the lack of confidence and disempowers the girl child from being assertive and making independent choices. This also contributes to the low participation of girls in public life even in later years. A girl’s education is seldom considered important, and it’s sacrificed for early marriages.

Girls also suffer poorer health and nutritional status than boys. The problem is further compounded by poor reproductive health. Most girls become sexually active at an early age and thereby becoming prone to teenage pregnancy, abortion, and exposure to venereal diseases. Complications related to early pregnancies and maternal deaths, lack of obstetric services and safe abortion come also in the picture.

Vulnerability of girls has been increased by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Statistics have shown that the rate of infection is higher amongst girls than boys. Apart from the reasons raised above the increase has also been attributed to the practice and belief by adult males that having sex with a virgin will cure them of HIV/AIDS.

Girls become more vulnerable when found in other vulnerable positions. As a child worker girls suffer sexual abuse and double heavy workload when they have to combine the work at home and that outside the home.

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