Religious misinterpretations, poverty, teenage pregnancy and early marriage amongst others are factors hindering the girl child in Nigeria.
Despite accounting for 94.2 million out of the 200 million population of Nigeria, the female gender is relegated, treated as second class citizen in the country. A female child is typically perceived to be a weaker being designated to just reproduce, cook and do other household chores compared to her male counterpart.
In bid to address this situation, United Nations marks October 11 as the ‘International Day of the girl child which intends to promote girls’ human rights, highlight gender inequalities and other challenges militating the female gender.
The unfair treatment of the female child, especially in regards to education has driven a lot of concern in Nigeria as the average rural Nigerian parent would rather invest in the education of the son than the daughter.
The war to be relevant to the girl child in Nigeria starts as early as the age of five, unlike their male counterparts. Although the narrative that the girl is an inferior gender is changing in some part of Nigeria, the northern part is especially unyielding. Statistics show that literate women constitute only 20% from the north-west,20% North-East, and 45%from North Central. The rather grim figures indicates how women are viewed compared to men in Northern Nigeria. With little or no access to education, the girl child is limited.
Even when there are considerable provisions for the education of the girl-child in Nigeria, education is neither qualitative nor treated as a right to the girl child.
It is clear that the lack of access to quality education and opportunities of the female gender contributes to the stunted growth of Nigeria. The girl child must be treated better for Nigeria’s development.