Since 2009, January 24th is being celebrated as the National Girl Child Day in India to focus on the issues related to adolescent girl children and their safety and wellbeing.
Among the issues of the girl children in India, female foeticide, domestic violence and malnutrition are major. Hence the purpose of this day is to take a stand on these issues and raise awareness about gender equality among the people.
The little girls in our country face discrimination even before they are born. The boy child is treated as a superior breed that is preferred for food, clothes, medicine and education, allowing the Girl Child to grow up in utter negligence.
The present ratio of gender in India is 927 women to 1000 men. In India, there are 8.3 crore girls in the age group of 11 to 18 years which constitute 17% of the total female population of 49.65 crores.
Again, the female literacy rate is only 53.87%. Also almost one third of the adolescent girls are undernourished. About 56.2% women in the reproductive age group 15-49, are anemic as reflected in NFHS-3 survey.
Hence, this vulnerable group needs support in terms of education, health and nutrition. In other words, it becomes vital to adopt a multi-pronged come up to provide a favorable environment for their optimum development and realization of full potential.
Early marriage is also a major issue in our country. 45% of the girls get married before the age of 18 as per the NFHS-3 data. This often results in early and multiple pregnancies, low birth weight babies and problems of health and nutrition.
To mark the occasion Govt. of India observes the day with certain events. Speaking on this occasion the Secretary, Ministry of Women & Child Development said that the theme is aptly chosen as ‘Adolescent Girls: Issues and Challenges’ to celebrate this year’s National Girl Child Day. She also highlighted about some schemes of the government like ‘SABLA’ and ‘Dhanalaxmi’, to support the adolescent girls.
Ironically, the country, which worships God in the woman incarnations, also has a majority of men who prefer to torture the women. Let's take a pledge today to stop the atrocities on girl children and allow them to live with proper care and dignity.