#Feminine line

What undermines women’s roles

By Josephine Oguntoyinbo

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Many people are  wondering if there will ever be a time when the girl child will be as privileged as the boy as regards the freedom to pursue their academic aspirations. While people get excited at the idea of a compulsory education for the Nigerian girl-child irrespective of tribe or religion, many people still frown at the idea.

The Nigerian constitution clearly stipulates that every child, boy or girl has the right to education. Actually, the constitution even requires a free and compulsory education for children between the ages of 6 and 15 years.

Nonetheless, we are aware that there are  millions of  children that are not in school and are not receiving any form of training to help them better their lots in life. Of these affected children, the girl child- constitutes a greater percentage .

One of the major factors militating against girl child’s education is poverty, followed closely by the culture of the Nigerian people and certain aspects of the Nigerian value system. With about 60% of Nigerians living in poverty, families are forced to make very difficult choices. One of such choices is to sacrifice the education of some of its children for the education of one who will later take the other family members to ‘the promised land’.

Investigations show that the education of the girl child is mostly sacrificed for that of the boy child.

This practice undermines the roles a woman plays in the family and the society at large. A woman is the foundation of the home. She could make it work or just break it. To the child, she is a friend, a teacher, a confidant, a counselor and the hand that feed.

In an interview, Mrs Fadekemi Ogundana who is a civil servant noted that girl child education is very important in any nation that wants to grow in all aspects of her endeavours. The popular saying that when you educate a girl, you have educated, trained the whole family /nation could not be ignored because the reason for the adage emanated from the thought that girls’ roles are very pivotal in the society

 She also said “when a girl is educated, everything seems to be well with the family that raised such a girl-child, as the multiplier effects could not be quantified.”

    To her, since a girl is the closest to the home, a good upbringing of the child would translate to a conducive environment, because of the impact the girl child has on the family generally.

She maintained that it will be a disservice to leave the girl out of formal education, simply because she is a female child

 She also said “when the education of a girl- child is neglected, such girl becomes problematic to her parents and the nation in general.

To this end, she advised parents and guardians to educate their girls in order to have a more stable, dependable and manageable society .

Also speaking, Mrs Ojo-Victor Kehinde, a teacher , opined that girls’ education is very important in many dimensions including upbringing of the children and upkeep of the home.

She noted that “when you educate a girl, you have educated a nation”.

She explained that girl -child education helps in all aspects of human endeavours, adding that girls are home builders and helpers in the family hence the need to take their education as priority.

To her, educating the girl will make the society a better place “where we have women as leaders, they often perform better than men, how then will they perform without been educated.

 “Women are soft hearted, God fearing, and also considerate before taking any decision, they always consider how it can affect people within their environment.

 “When you educate the girl, they will become very responsible leaders and the nation will be better for it.

An Educationist, Mrs Aina Ogunsakin averred that all girls should be educated because they are still going to become mothers who will play major roles in building the foundation of their children.

She said that any woman who wants to be respected, especially by her husband should have something to offer, noting that a woman who does not have anything to offer does not deserve respect from her husband.

In her words, Mrs Margaret Paul who described women as the light of the family said every successful man has a woman who is behind him.

To her, what a man can do, a woman can also do better. ”Women have more roles to play in the family than men and all men value their wives, especially if they are well educated”.

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