October 11, 2021 2:40 pm

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) in collaboration with UNICEF, UNHCR, COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL, PLAN GHANA and WORLD VISION commemorated the 2021 lnternational Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) on Monday,11th October, 2021.

The United Nations General Assembly on December 19, 2011 declared October 11 as International Day of the Girl Child. A declaration built on the outcomes of the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing which advanced the rights of not only women but girls (Beijing Declaration).

The International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated each year to direct people’s attention to the need to address the challenges facing girls and to promote girls’ empowerment towards the fulfilment of their human rights.

This year’s celebration was under the theme “The Digital Generation: Promoting Citizenship for Girls without Discrimination

The essence of the celebration was to provide young girls with exposure and the requisite etiquette on internet use, create awareness among girls on the dangers internet can pose to their safety and also provide opportunity for girls to make a case for increased investments from stakeholders towards closing the digital divide, access to devices, connectivity, skills and safety.

Delivering the keynote address at this year’s celebration, the Caretaker Minister for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, urged stakeholders to be conscious of the special needs of the girl child in the digital world and also create equal opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics field to ensure that girls as citizens benefit fully from the digital revolution.

She tasked parents, teachers and community leaders to ensure the safe use of technology and bridge the digital access gap between boys and girls adding that promoting citizenship in the digital world requires girls to be taught to use technology in a safe and appropriate way

Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah said available data shows that vulnerable population of women and girls seems to be stuck in the past and closed off to life changing opportunities around them.

“For example, the global internet use shows that gender gap has grown from 11% from 2013 to 17% in 2019 and has widened in the world’s list-developed countries at 43%; and also 2.2 billion people below the age of 25 do not have internet access at home with more girls likely to be cut off,” she stressed.

She made a passionate appeal to all stakeholders in the digital space to use the celebration to increase investment towards closing the gender digital divide, access to devices, connectivity, skills and safe use of the internet and paying particular attention to girls.

On her part, the Chief Director for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Dr. Afisah Zakariah noted that the inclusion of all citizens in the development process is very crucial to the holistic approach for a well-developed nation.

She noted that traditional barriers and gender stereotypes continuously affect women and girl’s economic empowerment and social well-being. This according to her has resulted in the reduction in productivity of girls and women which have serious implications for generational poverty, parity and quality of life.

Dr. Afisah Zakariah reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to coordinate gender-related issues that will provide adolescents with the right information, knowledge and services to protect them from all kinds of violence, whiles empowering them to make the right choices and develop their knowledge-base for sustainable development.

Mr. Charles Abani, UN Resident Coordinator called on the Government, development partners and the civil society to coordinate efforts to empower adolescent girls and ensure their full participation in nation building.

As part of the celebration, the Mamfe Methodist Girls High School (MEGHIS) in the Eastern Region demonstrated some of their inventions which included a ‘Smart Bin’ equipped with a sensor that automatically detects the need to drop trash and a ‘Coding Robot’ that is operated by applying a specific code.