I stand with Girls, but, on what?

On 11th October, the world celebrates the International Day of the Girl.  Social Media gets decorated with posts and pictures that read ‘ I stand with Girls.’ Special functions are done to celebrate the progress and seek solutions to address the challenges girls are facing globally.

‘Girls’ is now among the development powerful words. Organisations have realigned their programs to tap into Girl Child money. Corporations are also aligning their marketing strategy and Corporate social responsibility towards Girls. The media provides coverage about girls related activities. Citizens have understood the power of a selfie that has as a girl child in it. I will not talk about the politicians and gaining political mileage once they utter the power word ‘Girl.’

It is catchy to mention girls in programs. It even looks good to get pictures of girls for your annual report. The public is happy, donors are happy, and you are happy. Public declarations about standing for girls come with many benefits for both personal and professional development.

What does that mean for girls? Whether this is helping the girl child or the organization, or the individual remains a question that needs a separate article altogether.

Now that the hype is gone, posts are slowly fading, and profile pictures are changing. Organizations are also getting back to their routine work, where does that commitment to stand with the girl fit in their work? What are the issues that you are standing for, when it comes to girls? Do the daily in-house operations of your organization reflect this commitment? Is there a budget line that focuses on girls in and outside of your organization?

When it comes to standing with girls, they are some matters that are ‘sexy’ which are usually picked, and the results can easily be delivered. Child marriages, girls education, and menstruation are among the usual suspects but what about the issues that are not sexy or fashionable? In mind, I have issues to do with the relationship between senior and juniors at the workplace. The most talked about topic is about the work relationships between males and females. Some research projects have been done to attempt to address some of these challenges. But how about the junior-senior relationship between females. Are women who are in senior positions at whatever line standing for the young girl who happens to be in a junior position?

I am also thinking of girls who are part of domestic work, does this become part of your standing with girls package? , I argued before that domestic workers, who are mostly girls face different forms of abuse. However, the action against the oppression is limited, because the perpetrators of such violence are you and I. Domestic workers suffer abuse from males and females. The abuse from men is documented as well. But an issue that remains untouched is the verbal abuse perpetrated by women. As the female in power, at that moment are you standing for that domestic worker at home? Or She is not part of the group of girls that you are standing up for?

I guess the answer to these questions will be seen from the 12 October to 10th October of the other year.

This blog was first published on Medium on the Day of the Commemoration of the International Day of the Girl.

Picture credit: MOMO Africa