In a country where females constitute over 48.18% of the total population, equal opportunities is the topic of discussion amongst various conversation groups. On the occasion of National Girl Child Day, there is a need to redefine the parameters of equality, education, healthcare and safety of the girl child. National Girl Child Day is celebrated on January 24 every year. The idea behind this day is to focus on the problems circling the girl child and work on improving those conditions. The day is dedicated to awakening the consciousness of the society towards the girl child in order for her to be valued and respected, along with focusing on breaking myths and stereotypes around gender.
With several programs and initiatives of the government in the direction of ensuring equal opportunities for girls like, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign, the CBSE Scholarship scheme, etc., following are some of the aspects that can be considered additionally.
Healthcare is the most basic need of any population; be it rural or urban. As per a study published in BMJ Global Health Journal, it was found that girls are at a greater risk of mortality as their access to healthcare is limited. When health facilities reach the innermost areas of the country with a specialized focus on women and girl child health, it will have a positive impact on the overall functioning and operability of the society. Innovative methods like mobile medical vans that offer healthcare facilities to the far-fetched areas are a good start to a broadened approach towards providing healthcare and can have a specialized focus area for the health of the girl child. Facilities, as basic as sanitary napkin dispensing machines for adolescent girls, can provide for strong support in improving the health outcomes of that particular area, thereby leading to an improved overall environment.
Educating girls can have a cascading effect on the health of society. Due to literacy, girls are able to make better decisions with emphasis on delayed age of marriage, healthier and cleaner environments, increased employment options and conclusively, reduced poverty. The literacy equation works wonders in producing long-lasting outcomes not just for the immediate family but for the society as a whole. It is also said to have a positive reaction on the economic conditions of the society in the long run. When education reaches the deepest corners of the country with an equal emphasis on educating all the genders, this development leads us in the right direction on the macro front.
The statistics available on various national websites regarding the safety-concern incidents with girls in the country, present a worrisome picture. With the authorities taking cognizance of the same, various initiatives have been launched in order to protect the safety of the girl child. The greatest opportunity has been realized in technology that has been orchestrated so as to power safety of girls.
Finally, all of the above aspects are interconnected to ensure the holistic growth of the girl child. The right education options for children will result into a literate mindset thereby inducing a sense of respect for people in gender, which will, as a result, ensure girls are safe and valued in all parts of the country. Similarly, education can lead to better health and employability outcomes for the population, where it will give rise to not just improved employability but access to varied professions including in healthcare along with entrepreneurs who have the right mindset to take forward the responsibility of maintaining the right economic and professional balance in the society.
Dr. Huzaifa Khorakiwala heads the non-profit organisation, Wockhardt Foundation, which runs several programmes in health, education, water and sanitation across India. He is also the Executive Director of Wockhardt Limited. An MBA from the prestigious Yale University in USA, he has won numerous awards and is associated with many social causes. He is also the Founder of “The World Peacekeepers Movement”, an online movement.
Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.
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The CSR Journal Team