By Lordson Okpetu
In what many may thought could never have happened in this lifetime, a new movement for the protection of male child’s interest is beginning to gather momentum in Nigeria. This is in response to what some parents perceive to be gradual increase in opportunities for girls at the expense of boys in the country and globally.
To this end, some parents in Abuja have started asking if the male child has now been relegated to the background. They argue that this is contrary to traditional beliefs in many societies and culture, especially in Africa, that sons are superior to daughters.
Mrs Esther Harrison, an Abuja-based human rights advocate, recently in a press briefing, said international and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) should address the fact that male children were gradually being forgotten in incentives to progress.
Harrison claimed that there had been gradual increase in opportunities for girls at the expense of boys in the country and globally.
She explained that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were aimed at eradicating poverty, improve health and also create opportunities for children to equally have bright future.
“However, we realize that there are more scholarships and development programmes for girls. Much less of these are available for boys and that is not right.
“It is even seen in the international celebratory days.
“We have father’s day, mother’s day, children’s day and the girl-child day, created by the United Nations. Does it mean that boys should not be celebrated?
“We should keep in mind that boys and girls in Syria were being equally attacked with explosions and stray bullets. These same boys would still be forced to join the army when the country required people to fight for it,’’ Mrs Harrison argued.
Emmanuel Maxwell, an Engineer, also recently told NAN that boys were gradually being relegated or forgotten in the modern world.
“I am a father of two boys and a girl. My daughter is the oldest of the three children. I am glad that the modern world is considering her and other girls as jewels that should be valued,” said Emmanuel.
“We have father’s day, mother’s day, children’s day and the girl-child day, created by the United Nations. Does it mean that boys should not be celebrated?”
– Esther Harrison
“When I was a child my sisters were treated very differently and they didn’t have rights like the girls of today, so I am really happy about the development.
“However, I have two boys who feel they have been forgotten by the society. Everyone just expects them to naturally become men and take up responsibilities.
“When my daughter finished secondary school, we searched for scholarships and found many that were offered to girls around the world. Most of the grants we came across focused on girls from developing countries.
“We even came across a number of universities that offered favoritism to females by reducing the admission requirement for girls into degree programme.’’
No scholarships for male child
Emmanuel emphasized that his problem was that his son, who wished to start university next year could not get scholarship to help save money.
“I am surprise to see that there are almost no scholarships for boys or young men either in Nigeria or elsewhere like done to girls,” continues the father of three.
“We are in the computer age where men no longer win by using their muscles.
“The world moves by peoples’ mental abilities and that is what is encouraging the feminist movement.
“Feminism encourages the empowerment of women by acknowledging the fact that they can be independent and equally smart as men and are therefore asking to be seen as strong individuals,” he said.
Emmanuel said he has many friends who are worried about this new overwhelming investment in girls.
The engineer said he’s sure other parents who have sons are worried about this new trend too.
The question now is, ‘Is the fear that the male child is gradually being relegated to the background real or imaginary?’
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