It’s understandable girls face many challenges when growing up. Right in infancy, some have been defiled and sexual predators pursue them at almost every level of their growth. It is no wonder parents or guardians keep a closer watch and shorter leash on girls than boys. This is done to prevent unwanted pregnancies in adolescence and the trauma of sexual assault.
It is a common phenomenon, too, that in poor households, preference for education goes to boys to economically empower them as future household leaders. It is presumed that girls may forgo education on the premise they marry and will be taken care of by their husbands. Their education may be postponed or removed from households to-do lists altogether.
The above are just some of the many things that need correcting in our society. While the issues raised are true, we cannot continue postponing girls’ education in preference for boys. That is wrong; hence, the many interventions to correct the situation. After all; ‘If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a girl, you educate a nation,’ so goes the saying.
However, I would like to agree with a point made by Malumbo Mtonga featured in our profile on pages seven and eight. She is Miss Culture Heritage Malawi, 2021 and she observes: “While Miss Culture Malawi emphasises on girls’ education, boys should not be sidelined.”
Poverty in this country is at levels where many households do not have the option of educating one child over the other based on gender.
They just cannot afford to educate either. Many boys are preferred over girls, but the reality is contrary. Sadly, they are left to do piece jobs to survive and quit school. And because they are still young, they end up being exploited. Meanwhile, it is girls who are ushered in the the world of education.
I want the nation to reconsider its stand. Let us incorporate every child because they all need help. The fact that a family would opt to educate one child over another speaks volumes about its needs. We are killing the boy who is left to the devices of his family who hardly can afford to fend for him. He is the one expected to marry and fend for his family in future and if not accorded the necessary resources, we are simply feeding to the vicious cycle of poverty.
Boys need a helping hand in the same manner girls do. Let us not assume. The reality on the ground speaks for itself. n