Published:  12:42 AM, 11 October 2018

Thoughts on International Day of the Girl Child

Today, 11 October, is International Day of the Girl Child. The Day is being observed in Bangladesh as elsewhere in the world this year with the theme, 'With Her: A Skilled GirlForce'.

The United Nations in its message has expressed the hope that the International Day of the Girl this year will mark the beginning of a year-long effort to bring together partners and stakeholders to advocate for, and draw attention and investments to, the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to attain skills for employability.

The UN has rightly mentioned that today's girls are preparing to enter a world of work that is being transformed by innovation and automation. However, in this era when there is a great demand for educated and skilled workers, roughly a quarter of young people - most of them female - are currently neither employed nor in education or training.

Bangladesh in particular has over the years done remarkably well in empowering its womenfolk. According to the Global Gender Gap report published recently, Bangladesh tops the list of Southeast Asian countries in terms of gender parity.

On the world stage the country stands at 47th position, while neighbouring India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan remain at 108, 109, 111, 124 and 143 positions respectively. Official data say the number of working women in the country increased to 18.6 million in fiscal year 2016-17 from 16.2 million in 2010.

Now, rates of girl children's enrolment in primary and secondary levels of education are higher than those of boy children. All these data testify to the fact that the society where women's working outside the home was attached to social stigma even a few decades ago has marched long strides ahead. 

Still, there is a lot more to do in this particular area. At a time when more and more women are stepping outside familial and social boundaries to get engaged in the economic mainstream by getting educated and joining the workforce, they still have to face various obstacles in their everyday life, starting from home to road to academic institution to workplace.  Therefore, efforts must be made from every responsible quarter to make sure that our daughters get a favourable environment for their latent potentials to flourish.

Only a greater social commitment to prepare the girls for a successful transition into the world of work and ensure a congenial working environment for them can serve the true purpose of observing the International Day of the Girl.

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