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Raising an empowered girl child

Women Empowerment

Its empowered India in 2016. And here,girls believe its not worth it to pursue their dreams.

In India, only 47% of girls start secondary education and only 2% of girls successfully complete secondary school. it’s estimated that across India women and girls spend about 15,00,00,000 work days per annum fetching and carrying water for their families.

Some of the facts: at least 30 million females are missing from India’s population today due to the systematic killing of girls. In Delhi, there are 866 girls for every 1000 boys, but there are other states where the ratio is 830 to 1000. Why? To put it simply, according to the ingrained patriarchal worldview, men are valuable and women are not – especially those who are not mothers!

A girl child in India faces discrimination at various levels, and due to her lower status in the society, a girl child labourer is even more deprived. Worldwide domestic and household work by a girl, even in her home, is not recognized as work as such because home-based work is seen as an unskilled nature with low status. Their lack of education or vocational training, due to the preference given to the boys, block their ability to move upward. Due to this lack of education, she is only relegated to low-paid and unskilled jobs. This vicious cycle is hard to break because the exploited young girl becomes the exploited adult woman who often does not see her work as an economic activity but as under-valued.

International Day of the Girl Child matters, because like Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” If you cannot do anything else, you can learn, share with your family and friends, and pray. Plead. Consistently and faithfully.

 

The fact that girls will leave their family and belong to the husband’s furthers the idea that having girls is a bad investment. As the saying goes, raising a daughter is like watering your neighbor’s garden. Because the boy will stay with his family for a lifetime, he is the one who will inherit the land, who will get first dibs on going to school, getting food, getting medical care. According to the system in place, he is his family’s social security.

And where is all this leading? Again, simply put, to girls being less educated, less nurtured, less valued, less wanted. To illegally aborting girls in the womb and to drowning or suffocating infant daughters. And the huge lack of adult women means millions of men who can’t get married, which of course fuels crimes like rape, sex-trafficking, prostitution, and kidnapping.

If you think just because you are an educated urban middle or upper middle class woman and will never let this happen to or with your own daughter, think again.

Does your girl feels sure of herself?

Does she expresses her feelings clearly and is empathetic to others’ feelings?

Does she have “can-do” attitude and readily accepts challenges?

Does she have a healthy attitude towards life and can carry herself with confidence?

Do you ever find yourself stopping her from trying a new thing ( bungee jumping? Night out with friends? Riding a bike? A modelling career? No, you are too young, its risky, etc etc)

If any of these are true for you, time is now to change yourself.

An empowered girl will one day raise a healthy, empowered child. She will be a useful asset and a meaningful contributor to the society.

Here is how you can raise an empowered girl child:

Encourage your daughter to pursue a passion.
Full engagement with an activity she loves will give her the opportunity to master challenges, which will boost her self-esteem and resilience and affirm  intrinsic values rather than appearance

Let her have a voice in making decisions.
Whenever possible, let her make constructive choices about her life. Let her choose her own clothes, within appropriate limits. Give her a voice in what after-school activities she participates in and how many she wants to do.

Encourage her to solve issues on her own rather than fixing things for her.
When parents take over, girls don’t develop the coping skills they need to handle situations on their own. Ask your daughter to consider three strategies she might use to deal with a situation, and then ask her about the possible outcomes. Let her decide what she wants to do (within reason). Even if you disagree with her choice, you give your daughter a sense of control over her life and show her that she is responsible for her decisions

Get girls working together. 
Girls who work cooperatively in school or who problem-solve together do much better in taking large risks or facing challenges.

Let your daughter know you love her because of who she is, not because of what she weighs or how she looks.
Encourage your girl to eat in healthy ways, but don’t over-obsess over what she eats. Listen to her opinions (about food, and other things) and show appreciation for her uniqueness, to help her develop herself into the person she wants to be

Allow her to disagree with you and get angry.
Raising a powerful girl means living with one. She must be able to stand up to you and be heard, so she can learn to do the same with classmates, teachers, a boyfriend, or future bosses

If you are fortunate enough to have a girl child, enjoy her! Being with a girl who somewhat reminds you of your own girly days,is  both  exciting and energizing. Find activities you both enjoy and do them regularly together. Maybe you both like cooking  classes or dance classes, or start a new venture with her, realise your dreams and get her to be partner in crime.Try to keep this connection as she gets older — if times ever get tough, you’ll appreciate this special bond you share.

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