In a nation like ours where the statistics do not favour women, taking a moment to address the girl child is just what we need. Yes. It's not tacky, it's not lame, it is just another step towards awareness and education.
Our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi was quick to showcase his sentiments on the occasion:
National Girl Child Day is a day to celebrate the exceptional achievements of the girl child, whose excellence in many fields makes us proud— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 24, 2017
Some significant statistics:
Last year, a report was released by Save The Children which ran the details of children around the world and the state of girl child in every country. India ranked 90th, out of the 144 countries that were ranked in terms of Girls' Opportunity Index, an indicator to showcase their opportunity to control their lives and to fulfil their own potential.
Another report, Children in India 2012- A Statistical Appraisal, by Central Statistical Organisation had also revealed some shocking details.
- The female child population in the age group of 0-6 years was 78.83 million in 2001. In 2011, this population declined o 75.84 million.
- The population of girl child was 15.88 per cent of the total female population of 496.5 million in 2001, which declined to 12.9 per cent of total number of 586.47 million women in 2011.
- In 2011, there were 48 fewer girls per 1,000 boys than there were in 1981.
These numbers are a clear indication of state of a girl child in our country, and in turn, the state of women.
Why celebrate National Girl Child Day?
Why, you ask? Is it futile to name yet another day to something? Does it mean we only celebrate girl child on this day? What happens to the rest 364 days?
I say we celebrate. I say we parade out on to the streets, and I say we rally the baton of awareness, education and hope, most of all. We live in the times when having a girl child is a curse for many families. Not just the rural, but even for families that stay in urban regions, metro cities, and still believe that having a boy is what will give them a status in the society.
Quoting an author and former national chess champion, Anuradha Beniwal, from the Jaipur Literature Festival, highlighted the kind of misogyny ingrained in her home state of Haryana:
‘When my sister was born, my parents’ second daughter after me, my Dad received messages of consolation. When you’re born, there’s no joy from your presence, and this becomes an indicator for things to come. Ultimately, this leads to the genocide of baby girls.’
This is not a game, or a TV show that skews reality and showcases what entertains the mass, this is the truth of today. We live in a 'civilisation' that still won't accept women need equal rights, equal pay, equal stand as men. We live in the times when some of us still have to carry pepper spray, pocket knife, and be on a call with our loved ones when we are walking back home through an unlit street. This is not a civilisation, this is just a man's kingdom.
So yes, Happy National Girl Child Day, because we sure do need a lot of those to eventually stop dedicating a day to women and girl child.