October 11th of every year is the International day of the child. The world comes together to commemorate the steps made in empowering and securing the girl child.
May 16th of each year has been observed as International Day of the Boy Child. This is a day dedicated to the whole world to focus on boys and their wellbeing. The International Day of the Boy Child was inaugurated in 2018 by Jerome Teelucksingh, Ph.D. (a thought leader on gender issues and founder of International Men’s Day).
The international day of the girl has been commemorated by the United Nations since 2012 but, most are not aware that there is a day marked for advocating for, and creating awareness on issues surrounding the wellbeing and development of the boy child. Neither gender should be left behind. Balance is everything!
It might not be overly evident but the girl child receives so much attention that the boy child is now subtly neglected. Today, the boy child is fast becoming invisible because society assumes that they are invincible. So, they are taught to mask their pains, as their tears must not be seen nor their cries heard, because showing their pains is a sign of weakness. They are taught to be tough: “Boys don’t cry!”, so they end up bottling their emotions.
The boy child and the issues surrounding them have been so stamped on and shoved aside to an extent where that society can’t name even a few of the challenges affecting boys specifically.
The boy child fields myriads of societal pressures. There is a social but subtle bias against the boy child. Disputes between a boy child and a girl child will invariably be settled in favor of the girl child. Such stereotypes reflect the various degrees of the onslaught of trauma meted out daily on the boy child by society. These have adverse effects on the psycho-social balance and development of the boy child. If we do not fix these anomalies and reverse the imbalance now, these young ones may turn abusive not only to others but even to themselves in the future.
Neglecting the boy child even subtly is not only unfair it is also unwise as Today’s boys are tomorrow’s dads! They are the leaders we’ll have tomorrow. Like it or not tomorrow’s generation is non-existent without taking care of the boy properly. Just like Girls are not for Boys, Boys are also not for Girls rather boys and girls are the yin-yangs of social life and any sort of imbalance on any side will be chaotic for all of us.
I would therefore call upon all parents, teachers, civil society organizations, all levels of government, and other stakeholders in the African space, to lend a voice against the unfair balance and growing neglect of the boy child, and to create more platforms and resources that will promote the interests and total wellbeing of the boy child to institute the aspect of total gender equity for all Children.