As the international day of the girl-child is celebrated worldwide, Queen’s College Old Girls Association (QCOGA) through a movement it tagged: ‘The Girl Force Movement’, recently called for the freedom of the mind of the girl-child.
At a press briefing tagged: ‘Free the Mind of the Girl Child’ held in Lagos, the President of QCOGA, Ifueko Okauru, said the goal is to use the movement to build a pipeline of women leaders that will drive the political, economic and social landscape in the communities of their choice with self-confidence and pride in whatever they choose to do.
According to her, “This initiative is a movement that respects as well as validates the girl-child, encourages and and enables the girl-child to have opportunities to be who she wants to be without constraint, scripting or hindrance.
“In driving the landscape, women will be at the table equitably making decisions that drive improved quality of life for all. This platform will be a catalyst for change and will provide annual feedback on progress made using data garnered as an instrument of advocacy.
“We will also share stories of persons working to uplift the girl-child in a variety of areas including but not limited to leadership development, self-defence, improvements in quality and robustness of education and advocacy; timely speak-up ability, hotline access and mentoring.”
“With the increased cases of rape, sexual harassment, defilement and molestation in our society as well as the recently uncovered ‘Sex for Grade’ by university lecturers by the BBC, the way women are being treated in the society is a far cry from where we should be and also what makes the society even better than where it should be.
“This is not just a call for women, but also a call for a better society that recognises the contribution and diversity of every part of its population to take decisions that impact millions of people.
“It gets worse when victims are hardly given the benefits of doubt. The society we live in often discourages women from standing up to their rights and voicing out issues affecting them. When we hear of a rape case, most people are quick to put the blame on the girl or woman accusing her of indecent dressing or being seductive.
“As a result, most victims of abuse hardly speak out as the chances of being believed or any action taken to redress are slim.”
She added: “The seeming helplessness, feeling of inadequacy and reduced self-worth that women portray when accosted by persons of influence or those who they perceive have some hold over them such as fathers, benefactors, spiritual heads, and supervisors in workplaces make these women feel inferior to their male counterparts.
“Hence there is a clear need for men and women to have a visible voice in addressing these issues in our society. With the ‘Girl Force Movement’, we have a voice. We are setting out to instill confidence in the mind of the girls and women in our society right from an early age.
“The girl child should not be made to stay at home while her brothers go to school. The girl child should learn to speak up and voice out right from an early stage. The girl child should have it in mind from an early age that she can grow to become a respected person occupying a high position in the society.
“With this movement, we would ultimately be creating a robust pipeline of women leaders who speak up and can occupy any position of their choice without fear or doubt; the need for women to hold key roles in the government and workforce cannot be undermined. Research has also shown that arguably, this is a recipe for significant success.”