What shall it profit our society if we consciously protect girls and continuously neglect Boys who pose more danger?
I am not in any way against the protection of the Girl-child, I am against the neglect of the Boy-child in our society today.
Studies show that neglected boys pose more threat and danger to society than girls in same category.
Girls are more vulnerable due to the nature of the female gender, but boys are also vulnerable.
In recent times, there have been many cases of young boys suffering sodomy and abuse of all forms. Girls being raped and molested, being impregnated at tender age, ectera, are things we hear off frequently.
So in a nutshell, young Girls and Boys alike are vulnerable, prone to way-wardness and harm. They are all just innocent children.
The Oxford Living Dictionary defines a child as an immature (innocent) or irresponsible person. Therefore, so long as an individual remains a Child, that child whether boy or girl, must be Protected, Cared for, Given attention, and Shown affection.
It is disheartening for me as a mother of 2 young boys and an aunt of 9 youngs boys to see everyone hell-burnt on protecting, encouraging, showing affection and attention to 'only' the girl-child.
Wouldn't our society be much better if we showed same level of commitment towards children in general?
A few weeks ago, I watched an interview of the current Gender Minister and she confirmed that lately there are more girls in primary and secondary schools than there are boys. Personally, I attribute such a lapse to the CONTINUOUS NEGLECT OF THE BOY-CHILD in recent times.
Let us ask ourselves where the boys who are not in school are going to be tomorrow? What are they going to be doing with their lives in future? I wouldn't be far from right to presume that many of those boys would turn to armed robbery, alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual abuse, ectera. Most of these neglected boy-children are going to grow to become irresponsible men, and irresponsible men are those who sexually harass girls and women, assault people, rob people at gun-point, and hurt others in all forms.
We all agree that there was a lapse in our society due to our fore-fathers neglect of girls and confining them to only the kitchen and bedroom. That brought about women lacking in education, decision making and not having equal opportunities as men at various levels.
As a result, we all had to fight for girls in order to bridge that gap between men and women.
It is not wrong to fight for the rights of the Girl-child and fight for gender equality as there have been gender imbalances from time past.
However, this fight is gradually taking us to a future where we would need to fight again, and by that time we would be fighting for the Boy-child.
We cannot even begin to imagine a future where many boys/men will be uneducated, wayward, irresponsible and lacking behind at all levels.
Such a future will be dangerous and detrimental to our society and the world at large. There is a saying in Akan which translates, "When men fall it is women and children who suffer the most."
It is imperative for us to draw boys also closer, encourage and motivate them, give them attention and show them care and affection in their personal lives, family, and social lives as well as what is expected of them.
Neglected Boy-children grow to pose danger to society and even their own selves and families.
We need to consciously channel some of our efforts to providing for, protecting and showing interest, attention and care to Boys as we do our girls. There should be equal balance. Boys should not be left out. Boys too matter. Boy-children are also vulnerable.
The Boy-child is also just a child who needs protection, attention, affection, care and encouragement.
Through education, advocacy, support, and generally showing interest in what concerns them, we can assist boys in making life choices that will improve their skills in relating with women and girls, and thereby having positive interaction with girls as well as increased societal participation.
We need to critically educate, create the awareness and challenge certain gender stereotypes and behaviours which perpetuate and heighten violent behaviours towards women and girls by boys and men.
Such education and awareness creation will help boys become change agents in reducing sexual violence and abuse against women and girls. This will guide their behaviour and increase their skills in understanding and appreciating the differences in the opposite gender.
This, I strongly believe is the way forward.
What shall it profit our society if we consciously educate, show concern, protect and provide for our girls and continuously neglect Boys whose neglect pose more danger to these girls?
Helena Adutwumwaa Bonto (Mrs.)
Executive Director, CONCERN for the BOY-CHILD INITIATIVE GHANA (CBCIG)
Email: [email protected]
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