When I was growing up, my community made me believe that I was lesser than, just because I am a girl. The belief that I needed to stick to what society had outlined for me and to adhere to gender roles and norms was constantly fed into my mind. This in turn limited me in so many ways. My dreams became limited and I could no longer desire things that were made to seem impossible for a girl to achieve. I remember when I was 12 years old, I really loved playing football. But this desire slowly faded away due to all the challenges I faced in and out of the field due to lack of access to equal opportunities and an enabling environment.
Girls have the desire and passion to change the world, but this passion and desire are often dimed by social norms, social beliefs, and gender inequality. These social constraints make it difficult for girls to know and defend their rights. It is time for the world to not only take notice of girls’ capabilities but also create an environment where girls will feel supported, respected, and heard.
Girls around the world continue to be denied an opportunity to exercise their basic human rights simply because they are girls. It is impossible for us to achieve equality if the world continues to ignore the inherent power and potential of girls.
Our society needs to ensure girls are given the opportunity to learn in a way that makes sense to them. It is important to involve girls and listen to what they have to say when making decisions that will impact their lives.
Girls globally want to push boundaries and remove obstacles that are preventing them from realizing their full potential. They want their voices heard, to contribute to society, and to lead lives that can and will transform their communities. They most definitely do not need people to tell them what to do and limit their potential. It is important to note that girls are the experts on their own needs, all they need is to be given the opportunity, skills, and support to make their voices heard.
As the International Day of the Girl approaches, it is now more crucial than ever that we need to get loud about the importance and the potential of girls. This shouldn’t be confined to just one day because girls’ rights and girls’ voices are important every day.
It is crucial to put us in the lead and provide a safe space where our voices can not only be heard but also valued and taken seriously. Once we are able to know and exercise our rights, we will not only be able to advocate for change in our lives but also in our communities and around the world. It is time for us to create a new normal where girls are seen as experts and not victims, we want to be on the giving end and not the receiving end.
I urge governments, leaders, and society at large to make it a point to give girls platforms to speak, to make decisions, to learn about their rights, and how to exercise them, and most importantly start viewing girls as equal partners in every aspect of development.