Let us not destroy the future by eliminating girls | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

22 October, Thursday

Let us not destroy the future by eliminating girls

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Covid-19 influenced the life of young people negatively. According to the United Nations, “Children are not the face of this pandemic. But they risk being among its biggest victims. While they have thankfully been largely spared from the direct health effects of COVID-19 - at least to date – the crisis is having a profound effect on their wellbeing..., for some children, the impact will be lifelong.” Exacerbating the learning crisis is another problem caused by the impacts of Covid-19. The digital world is not well known to everyone especially third world countries were technology still lacks behind, UN data shows that more than 1.5 billion children and youth are affected. For graduates, the probability of getting employed is very low due to unemployment caused by the pandemic which is leading to the estimated poverty of 42-66 million children as a result of the crisis this year. Also, those who lost their jobs because companies shifted to an Online working platform. Social life was disturbed and there’s no hope of it becoming the same after the pandemic. The political sector is influenced as well, it’s hard to demonstrate and be heard as restrictions block the whole process. The impacts of COVID-19 are on both males and females, young and old, but I'll focus more on the young people and mainly girls as they seem to be affected twice than the boys.

As a privileged girlchild, I feel the need to address the negative impacts of Covid-19 on young people, particularly girls. The reason why I call myself privileged is, I have access to quality education, I have an identity, I'm not a subject of early or forced marriages and I got the fortune to convey this message to the world. I grew up in society whereas a girl you were supposed to fight to get what you want. The community made it hard on us as many unwritten rules manipulated the female gender. People made it look like a disadvantage being a girl, it required an open-minded person to think out of the box and fight for what belongs to us. Society pointed out that girls were born to become brides and that doesn’t require education. This pathetic ideology sank in the heads of many young ladies as they focus more on mastering household chores and other handcrafts that will define them as good wives shortly. 

Well, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with self-development in these areas but that should not be the only/main focus. Some societal myths limit girls to dream big and the pandemic seems to worsen the situation. Quarantine made people stay home, however, for many girls prioritizing books became hard. Household chores, taking care of siblings, and managing family business becomes the order of the day. In general, many third world countries lack quality access to education. Data is expensive and is for the short-term. This makes it hard for guardians to buy data as they cannot afford it. Circumstances like these lead to many children dropping out of school, as they cannot afford online lessons. For girl dropouts, forced marriages, and teenage pregnancies.

"The future belongs to our youth...." Words by Nelson Mandela (30 May 1998). He did not distinguish boys from girls, youths mean both girls and boys. Let us not destroy the future by eliminating girls obtain that which belongs to them. Researchers have it known that countries experiencing extreme poverty, economic vulnerability, and crisis have the highest gender disparities in education. Thus, international organizations must intervene and eliminate these barriers. This can be done by encouraging girls to re-enroll as soon as school commences. Plan International said that “Groups that are already disadvantaged, such as adolescent girls, experience the greatest risks and impacts when their education is interrupted. Governments must take steps to mitigate the effects of school closures on girls, boys, and their families by ensuring education continues.” Plan International is raising awareness on the pandemic crisis and the child protection risks of lockdown including sexual and gender-based violence via different channels (TV, internet, radio, posters, etc.) and providing targeted support to vulnerable households.

Written by Tatenda Melody Mudara

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