Sunday, 30 September 2007

National Girl Child Day, Bangladesh

Since 2000, 30 September has been National Girl Child Day in Bangladesh. It is one day in the Child's Rights Week, with action organised at both national and local levels.

Nationally there are rallies and marches, but locally an effort is made to ensure rural communities, the vast majority of the population, are involved by Hunger Project volunteers leading celebrations in every area.

Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar is President, The Girl Child Advocacy Forum, has written what I think is an excellent article on the consequences of gender discrimination in The Daily Star, much of which concerns girls and women all over the world.

The main points he makes cover:
  • The "missing girls" caused by foeticide and infanticide causing population imbalance primarily in India and China.
  • During childhood, 20% of girls in developing nations do not finish primary education and only 43% attend secondary schools.
  • Adolescence brings on many other problems such as child marriage and premature parenthood leading to greater death rates for mother and baby; sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking.
  • In some countries the rate of HIV/Aids is up to 6 times higher for women, partly for physiological reasons but also because of lack of education, knowledge of risk factors and protection, and not having the right to say "no".
  • Motherhood - 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
  • During old age women often suffer double discrimination. Although they tend to live longer than men, in many countries they have little control over family resources and no inheritance rights so may face poverty at a vulnerable age.

It really is well worth reading the article in full.

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