It is another edition of the International Day of the girl and this year’s theme is “Our Time is Now, Our Rights, Our Future”. This International day of the girl is a day set aside to champion girl child advocacy and is globally observed on October 11th of every year. The first edition was celebrated in 2012 and today marks the 10thyear anniversary: 10 years of goodness. 10 years of empowering the girl child.
The journey has been an interesting one and we have impacted a lot of values in the girl child. Today we will be looking at a very key aspect of our lives: taking that step now even if it is against societal bias.
Girls all over the world face a lot of challenges. Most of these challenges seem to be more within some parts of the world, most especially in African nations. Thanks to living in a society that has created an imaginary box, put the girl child inside, and wrapped her up with a warning never to step out of this box of gender limitations. However, adversity breeds resilience and resilience success. With the right kind of inspiration from advocacy like we have seen over time, we are sure that there is hope for the African girl.
In addition to hearing these words, you need to take action. Go beyond what you’ve experienced because it’s time to step out and secure your future. Rise up against gender discrimination, bias, and stereotypes limiting you from being yourself and pursuing your visions. A lot of women have done this. They have crossed the hurdle the society set against them. Now, dear girl, it’s time for you to step out, take charge, and lead in the areas which the society made us believe were strictly meant for males.
Society should not dictate the course you will study in the university or the type of career you pursue after you graduate. As a girl, you too can aspire to run for political, religious, or economic strategic leadership positions. There is no limit to what you can achieve. Adopt the growth mindset, and believe in yourself.
You can attain whatever height you desire if you put your mind to it. Don’t let stereotypes swallow your future. Stand and fight for your rights – your right to be, your right to dream, and your right to reach the peak. Now is the time to secure the future you want for yourself and for the generations of girls to come. Follow your dreams. Pursue your passions. Society has created some baseless standards which every ‘ideal girl’ is expected to live by even if it is at her own expense. Even if it costs her her dreams and passions.
But you can say No! Refuse to be that girl that gives up her dream because she is ‘just a girl. You are human too and you have every right to pursue your passion and rise up to your full potential just like males do.
Take a look at the lives of the likes of Queen Elizabeth, Tobi Amusan, Viola Davis, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Ibukun Awosika. Amazing women in their rights. They have made and are making history. What if these women allowed society to limit them? What if they listened to the naysayers and refused to seize their rights? Think about what the outcome could have been – we would not be talking about them today.
These women were once young and energetic like you. In their youth, they chose the path to greatness. You too should choose the same and harness your potential. Sadly many girls still struggle with the “I can’t do it because I’m a girl” mindset. This year, we want to radically remove this mediocre mindset completely from the hearts of our dear young girls, and replace it with the “I know, I can” mindset.
We are in the 21st century, an information-driven society. Gone are the days when girls were told to study some gender-specific courses at the university. Gone are those days when girls were only groomed to be housewives and good mums alone. Gone are those days we stayed in the box. Gone are those days we dimmed our lights to satisfy the society. Today, girls can be anything they want to be!
So, get into science class
Vie for that prefect position
Pursue and live that dream.
Refuse to be pushed around.
Be the girl that decides to rise above societal prejudice.
Break loose from that shackle of gender marginalization.
Live your dream! Be a girl of influence!
Is it going to be easy? Or Is it going to be worth it? Whatever happens, the reward of maximizing your potential by choosing to take action now is far greater than the challenges you face along the way.