The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has implored parents to strengthen their relationship with girl-children for proper upbringing and development.

According to Freda Prempeh, the Deputy Sector Minister, until parents remained closer to effectively monitor movements of their adolescent girl-children, the latter would continue to fall prey to peer group influences, which could ruin their future.

She was addressing a durbar of pupils, students, teachers and parents organised by the Department of Gender with support from the UNFPA and the Canadian government to mark this year’s celebration of the International Day of the Girl-Child, held at Susuanho in the Tano North Municipality of the Ahafo Region.

On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl-Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face around the world.

The Day focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years but also as they mature into women.

The global theme for this year’s celebration is “My Voice, Our Equal Future”.

Mrs Prempeh, also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tano North constituency, emphasised the Ministry’s determination to empower girls and amplify their voices against sexual and gender-based violence, discrimination and infringement on their rights, which required collective support from parents and all stakeholders.

“This is because empowering the girls today is not only an investment into their lives but of generations yet unborn and future families with positive implications for sustainable national development.”

The Minister said involving the views of girls in national development discourse would ensure an equal and secured life for future generations of men, women and society as a whole.

Mrs Prempeh observed that achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) called for pragmatic action to promote the rights of the girl-child.

“Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is a strong catalyst for achieving each of the 17 SDGs,” she added.

“Empowered girls grow into empowered women who can care better for themselves and their families, increase their earning potentials, serve as active and equal citizens and change agents, and spur economic growth for communities and nations”.

Mrs Prempeh expressed appreciation to the UNFPA and other development partners working towards the promotion of the rights and welfare of girls in the country.

Mrs Joycelyn Adii, the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Director of the Department of Gender, advised girls to concentrate on their books and shun bad friends, whose relationship could end their education.

She admonished girls against pre-marital sexual practices and encouraged them to look for mentors and role models, who could influence them positively and build their future as well.

Mrs Adii regretted that teenage pregnancy was a driving force to school dropouts and forced-marriages in the area, and advised girls to avoid unhealthy relationships with boys.

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