Gender inequality starts from home, and this has led the girl child to think that boys are superior to girls, an official said on the occasion of International Day of The Girl Child 2022, calling for a change in the mindset if a gender-neutral society is to be achieved.
Mayengbam Ranjeeta Devi, sub-divisional officer, Thoubal district, is of the view that elders are the ones that have led girls to feel inferior to boys as they keep dropping negative remarks.
“Victim blaming is a serious issue, and people should change their mindset first and talk more about what values or ideas they should give to their children. There emerges questions about the safety of girls if gender inequality is not maintained,” she said.
Several other officials also expressed concern about issues facing the girl child in the Manipuri society as International Day of The Girl Child 2022 was observed on October 11.
According to field-in-charge, NFI Field office Thoubal Nonibala Narengbam, “It is time for us to stop using girls in unorganised household work and teach our sons to assist.”
It may be mentioned that often it is taken for granted by many in society that household chores are considered responsibilities of womenfolk. Hence, observing International Day of The Girl Child provides increased awareness about gender inequalities faced by girls and women in our society which includes access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care and protection from discrimination, violence against women and forced child marriage, Nonibala said.
The International Day of The Girl Child observance is also related to the SDGs Goal 5 ‘Gender Equality’, she said, as the NFI Field Office Thoubal observed the day with support from NFI New Delhi and European Union in collaboration with IRDSO and Childline Thoubal at IRDSO Complex, Wangiing.
Pointing out one major problem facing the girl child in the Manipuri society, legal-cum-probation officer, Thoubal Reena Chanu said early marriage is a rising issue and must be stopped.
She mentioned how girls under 18 and boys under 21 are engaged in elopement without being aware of the legal prohibition of child marriage and the adverse outcomes of early marriage.
Elopement is common among the communities in the region, and the state has been witnessing an increasing number of people eloping at an early age.
Pointing out that early marriage leads to several health and mental problems, Reena Chanu stressed “education as a source of empowerment.”
According to chief functionary, Rural Voluntary Services, Babita Sapam, Manipur is also facing the problems of human trafficking. She said that young girls are lured and trafficked by creating false stories to the parents that they will be given education in auspicious schools in other countries, while some youth are lured with job offers.
A total of 48.5 million persons are trafficked globally, of which 10 million are children, 15.4 million are found under forced marriage while 4.8 million are used for sexual exploitation, Sapam said.
The misuse of mobile phone leading to increasing cyber crime was highlighted by Sub Inspector, Women Police Station, Thoubal A Seitapati Devi. She said that the misuse of mobile phones by parents in raising children has caused mobile phone addiction among children.
The police official said one of the leading factors of cyber crime is excess uploading of photos and videos in social networking platforms; this could lead to becoming a target by hackers and predators. Cyber stalking and bullying should be reported immediately. Timely reporting can help prevent further harm upon the victims, she added.