During a UN conference in 1995, a declaration was made to promote and safeguard the rights of not just women but girls as well. Since then, the International Day of the Girl Child is commemorated on 11th October to recognise and protect the rights of girls across the world. The main objective is to make girls an active part of the world as it progresses. Each year a theme is selected to highlight the pertinent issues. This year’s theme was “Digital generation — Our generation”. The theme is aimed at drawing attention to the growing digital world and how a digital gap can widen the gender gap.
Since women and girls constitute approximately half of the world’s population, it is crucial to accelerate their growth and development. Around the world, leaders should pledge to empower young girls and provide them with proper healthcare, skill-based learning facilities and equal opportunities, and a world free from gender-based violence and discrimination.
In Pakistani society, the news of the birth of a girl child is usually met with much less excitement than it is for a boy. I want to urge all parents and the society at large to celebrate girls and women with the same vigour. Girls should be offered the same opportunities and given access to digital technology so that they are equipped with tech-related skills necessary for employment and development. As a member state of the UN, the Pakistani government should undertake initiatives to empower girls and safeguard their rights. This is especially important given the growing divide between the genders in Pakistan. Girls should not be prevented from success and must be included in social, political, and economic spheres.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2021.