Why Do We Celebrate National Girl Child Day – India celebrates its National Girl Child Day on 24th January every year. The first National Girl Child Day was celebrated in 2009. The Ministry of Women and Child Development initiated the program for encouraging girls and spreading awareness in the country.
The objectives of the program are:
- To spread awareness about inequalities faced by girls in the country
- To promote awareness about the rights of a girl child
- To increase awareness about female education, health, and nutrition
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24th January marks the day when India’s first woman Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi was sworn in as the Prime Minister in 1966. It highlights women’s empowerment and that nothing is impossible for a woman.
Issues faced by girls in the country
- Lack of Education
Even in the present day, the literacy rate for girls is lower than for boys in the country. As per the figures released in 2021, the male literacy rate is 82.12% while the female literacy rate is 65.46%. Although the situation is improving, there is still a wide gender discrepancy in the education sector. In many rural areas, it is still taboo to send girls to school.
- Poor Nutrition and Health
A large number of women and children in India suffer from malnutrition. They do not have access to basic healthcare. Anaemia is another severe problem among the female population.
- Poor Sanitation
Hygiene is another issue faced by women in the country. Many women do not have proper access to menstrual hygiene and private washrooms. In some remote or rural areas, there are no washrooms.
- Child Marriage
In many parts of India, girls are still married off at an early age. Even though it is unlawful, it is still practiced in villages. This practice deprives girls of education and choices.
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These are only a few of the issues faced by girls. They are prone to dowry, domestic violence, rape, stalking, improper treatment, etc., as well. Educated girls living in urban areas also suffer from some of the other issues in their lives.
National Girl Child Day
In view of the above issues faced by girls in the country, various laws, campaigns, and programs have been launched in the country. One such program is the National Girl Child Day. It helps in promoting awareness about the issues and providing solutions for them. Every year a theme is decided for the day. The theme for this year has not been announced yet. However, 75 girls under the age of 20 are going to be awarded for their achievements. The theme for the last year was ‘Digital Generation, Our Generation.’
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Save the Girl Child Campaign
On 22 January, 2015, the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign was launched in the country. The campaign was launched to prevent female foeticide and encourage education for the girl child. The campaign focuses on the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, and Delhi. It is run jointly by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
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