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International Day of the Girl Child 2021 -Words on Marble – Letter to A Young Girl

It is another edition of the International Day of the girl and this year’s theme is step outside the gender box: Learning free from stereotypes. Today, we’re focusing on a core aspect of our future that has been affecting our growth and development for decades. That is how we learn.

As a girl, you have been told don’t learn that it is for boys. Don’t apply for that course, your brain can’t handle it. In fact, you will explode. Because of these lies, many girls have shied away from exploring their areas of interest and pursuing their passions.

Look around you. It is not new to hear girls being pushed into seemingly easier courses like the arts and social sciences while they’re discouraged from learning science, math, engineering, and tech. Sometimes, the pushers give reasons like: Your brain is too fragile. Your brain is too light. You can’t handle this. It is too tough for you. You won’t understand it!

Today, I am here to let you know that you have been lied to. You have been made to believe that you are less than you actually are and because of these lies, you have held back. You have shrunk from your true self and given up on your dreams. You have chosen a path that was not yours and taken subjects you had no interest in. Yes, you have lived by these boxes. You have let their wrong opinions stop you from maximizing your potentials. But you don’t have to keep doing that! It is a new day and dawn now.

So, no more lies. No more falling prey to ridiculous constructs that don’t hold water. We are the generation of girls who will learn what we want to learn regardless of what society thinks. We refuse to be restricted, limited, defined by these agelong stereotypes. We are choosing to open our minds and let the universe be our only limit.

By learning about mathematicians, world leaders, novelists, physicists, programmers, engineers, architects and so many other professionals who are women, we are inspired to learn without limits.

Can I tell you one simple reason why learning should not be gender-based? It’s because we all have brains and that is about all we need to learn, don’t you agree? If this is so, then there’s no need to bar you from learning whatever you want to learn. There is also no body of knowledge that was strictly designed for girls or boys alone. Dear young girl, you can learn anything you want. Your mind will not explode or crash. So, never let the gender box limit what you choose to learn.

To you who has been put down for wanting to take that course…
To you who has been laughed at for choosing Technical drawing or Further Mathematics…
To you who has been warned to stay away from tough courses…

Know that you have a functional brain. And this is why you will succeed at whatever course you choose to learn. Your exam scripts won’t know your gender. They will only recognize the right answers and reward you accordingly. So, if you put in your efforts, read and listen, you will understand any subject of your choosing and do great every time! Yes, you always will because your dreams are valid. Your passions are true. You can be whatever you want to be. So, you can learn whatever you want to learn.

Choosing to learn what you want won’t always be an easy thing to do. You may be opposed or ridiculed. Insist. Put your foot down as nicely as possible. And tell people that you can do this because you can.

By insisting, you’re rejecting these baseless stereotypes about knowledge overwhelming your brain. You are also setting a precedence and showing other girls that they can handle anything they want to learn.

God made you beautiful. God gave you a sound mind. He didn’t make you with half brains or quarter intelligence. He made you complete and who. So, he doesn’t expect you to shortchange yourself or to place limits on how much you can learn. Don’t let others set limits for you that God didn’t set.

Think about everyone you admire and what they have accomplished, many of them needed financial literacy, leadership skills, communication, and some even needed tech skills to get to where you aspire to be. If they didn’t learn without stereotypes, will they be where there are today?

Stop sacrificing your dreams for a life you will never be fulfilled in. Stop allowing gender define what you can learn and what you can’t. Step outside the gender box and learn without stereotypes today! This digital generation is our generation. We will never be left behind.

Adewuyi Roseline is passionate about the girl child. Growing up, she had a lot of questions about her identity. She is on the journey to ensure that young girls rise above limitations, smash stereotypes in their communities.

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