Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable

According to UNICEF, there are currently 10.5 million children out of school in Nigeria. This is currently the highest number of out-of-school children in the world! Girls, street children and children of nomadic groups are the most affected. Cultural and social values in the country, through time have greatly contributed to the gender disparity in education. A study by the University of Ibadan linked the imbalance in boys and girls participation in education to the traditional beliefs of the country and the idea of male superiority and female subordination. The study pointed out that the countries patriarchal practices which gives girls little and in some cases no rights to succession, as a major determinant of who gets to go to school in most disadvantaged families. Often times the family can only afford to send one child to school with the male child being the more favorable pick while daughters are made to assume household responsibilities. Key factors affecting the girl child education in Nigeria include poverty, religious misinterpretation, early marriage and inadequate school infrastructure. However over the years the participation of girls in education across all levels has been on a slow but steady rise. Awareness has been created and is being created to shine light on some of the long held beliefs and practices known to affect the inclusion of girls in education. In some parts of Nigeria where under-aged marriage is commonly practiced, there is a lot of ongoing sensitization of girls and their families on the importance of basic education. In some cases criminal prosecution is used as a deterrent against such practices. From 1970 to 1994, the enrollment in primary education steadily increased from 30% to as high as 80% according to UNICEF, but differences still exist between enrollment of males and females in all levels of education. In addition the drop out level for girls still remains higher than boys. In 2002 the combined gross enrollment for females in primary, secondary and tertiary schools was 57% compared to 71% for males. In 2010 the female adult literacy rate (ages 15 and above) for Nigerian women was 59.4% in comparison to the male adult literacy rate of 74.4%. The percentage for female workers in some selected professions in 2012 were as follows: Architects 2.4%, quantity surveyors 3.5%, lawyers/Jurist 25.4%, lecturers 11.8%, obstetrics and gynecologists 8.4%, pediatricians 33.3%, media practitioners 18.3%. Today women in Nigeria have more access to quality education and are more likely to benefit from scholarships and study grants as compared to previous decades. Currently Nigerian women are making many advancements within the society. In recent years three male dominated professional associations – The Nigerian medical association, the Nigerian Bar Association and institute of chattered accounts of Nigeria have been led by female presidents. Bethesda Child Support Agency believes in the equality of both female and male children, which is why we offer equal support to both genders. There are currently 800 children enrolled in the Bethesda education program and 500 of these children are at risk of dropping out due to lack of sponsors. 200 of this children are girls. We will like to call on your support today – the International Day of the Girl Child to help keep these female children in school for another academic session. It takes only N100,000 to keep a child in school for a year, to sponsor a girl child toady, please call Chris on 09067227706.
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