As the world commemorates the International Day of the Girl Child in 2023, the Lagos State Chapter of the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (NRHJN) pays tribute to adolescent girls and young women in Nigeria and across the globe. This heartfelt recognition underscores the commitment to raising awareness about gender inequality and advocating for girls’ rights and empowerment.
In a press release signed by Lagos State Coordinator, Kikelomo Oduyebo, and Lagos State Assistant Secretary, Yesirat Apakala, the group aligns fully with this year’s theme: “Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being,” to emphasize taking action to uphold the rights of girls and foster progress in gender equality and equity.
As a network of dedicated media professionals, the NRHJN actively advocates to bridge communication gaps in girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights, with the goal of ensuring that girls reach their full potential while living healthy and fulfilling lives.
The NRHJN thereafter call for the full and unhindered achievement of gender equality and girl empowerment, considering them integral to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 under the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030.
The statement reads in part that, “we firmly believe that investment in realizing the power of adolescent girls upholds their rights and promises a more equitable and prosperous future. As an advocacy group, our network pushes for a more just and fair society in which girls’ rights are recognized and safeguarded and their voices are heard.
“We also advocate for an end to female genital mutilation and forced child marriage because we want schoolgirls to have access to quality education and a safe environment free of harassment, kidnapping, bullying, and defilement.
“Our girls are our heroines, and the Lagos NRHJN will continue to encourage mothers to nurture their girl child in order to break down traditional, cultural, and religious stereotypes and barriers that have prevented girls from achieving their goals, as we encourage more girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM),” the group added.
THe group also called on the “Nigerian government at all levels to prioritize the commitment towards ensuring the rights of girls and women across all fronts in Nigeria towards attaining goals that will lead to justice, inclusion, an economy for all today, and a shared environment for future generations.”