Day of (disadvantaged) Girl
Girls spend 40% more time on unpaid household chores and collecting water and firewood compared to boys
EVERY 10 minutes, a girl dies as a result of violence, Unicef said while commemorating the International Day of the Girl this week where it highlighted the challenges that millions of girls faced.
Girls between five and 14 years of age spent 40% more time on unpaid household chores and collecting water and firewood compared to boys their age, according to a report released by Unicef.
In South Africa, progress continued to be made with advancing the rights and opportunities for girls. A supportive Constitution and legislative framework, increasing enrolment of girls at all educational institutions as well as growing visibility of girls and young women in leadership positions were all encouraging developments.
However, as girls around the world were learning sport had the power to transcend boundaries of sex, race, religion and nationality. From gaining leadership skills and finding common ground to tackle tough issues, sport empowers girls.
Women and girls in sport defied gender stereotypes, made inspiring role models and showed men and women as equals.
On the occasion of the International Day of the Girl, the UN asked girls what sport meant to them and in SA, sport provided a safe haven and opportunity for learning about HIV prevention and gender-based violence.
“Before I was a member of Skillz Street I did not know where I was headed. But now I know where I’m from, where I’m headed and where I want to be in the future.
“It’s built so much confidence in me because I know what’s ahead for me. I feel proud of myself that I am part of the positive side, the safe side,” Yamkela Nqweniso said.
Nqweniso, 16, was born and raised in Khayelitsha, the largest informal township in Cape Town, where there is a high prevalence of HIV-Aids and limited social infrastructure.
She was one of 100 adolescent girls who were part of Grassroot Soccer programme, a civil society organisation empowering youths through sports.
Along with athletic training, girls are mentored by peer coaches on preventing HIV and gender-based violence through the innovative Skillz Street programme.
Meanwhile, girls aged between 15 and 24 were cited as being at an extremely high risk of contracting HIV – almost three times higher than young men of the same age because of sexual abuse.
The Aids Healthcare Foundation had been focusing on addressing the challenges faced by girls and women in 2016 and had carried out comprehensive surveys in SA, Uganda and Nigeria to identify how to make their services more girl-friendly.
Education was the best key in getting the word out about the dangers of early sexual activity and unsafe sex, which included HIV, STIs, pregnancy and increased risk of cervical cancer.
Klazinga said even though condoms and other contraceptives were readily available at clinics, teenagers needed to have access to confidential contraceptive services and sexual education at schools.
Men also needed to be encouraged to take responsibility and engage in safe sexual behaviour by using condoms, remaining faithful to one sexual partner and by fighting the abusive “blesser” culture which encouraged men to prey on girls and younger women.
According for the statistics, nearly 2000 young women between the ages of 15 and 24 were being infected with HIV per week in SA.
Last year, in commemoration of the UN International Day of the Girl Child, the Western Cape department of social development (DSD) hosted 24 girls, aged between 14 and 18, at the Grandwest Casino in Goodwood, Cape Town.
Sihle Ngobese, DSD spokesperson, said the girls who joined a motivational talk session and lunch were from disadvantaged communities all over Cape Town.
Ngobese said the MEC for social development, Albert Fritz, had placed great emphasis on boosting initiatives and services to girls and women.
ADVANCING RIGHTS: Access to education in low income countries of sub-Saharan Africa is one of the challenges of the global community, as stated in the Sustainable Development Goals.