URIDU Health Family Work

Am I less important than a boy?

The way a woman sees herself forms as she grows. It is important that a girl learn to feel good about herself when she is young, so that she will be able to develop fully and help make her community a better place. A girl is much more likely to learn this when her family and community show her that they value her.

In many places girls are raised to believe they are less important than boys. They are taught to feel shame about their bodies and about being female, and they learn to accept less education, less food, more abuse, and more work than their brothers. This not only hurts their health directly, but it makes them feel bad about themselves and less able to make the right decisions for a healthier life in the future. When girls are raised in this way, it shows that their communities do not value them as much as boys.

But if a girl’s community recognizes the value of each person - whether the person is male or female - she will grow up feeling she can make a better life for herself and for her family and neighbors.

The way a community treats females also affects how families treat their girl children. For example, if a community believes that girls should learn skills, a family that lives there is more likely to want their daughter to go to school for as long as she can. But in a community where women are allowed to do only ‘women’s work’ and are not allowed to participate in any public meetings, families are much less likely to believe that their daughters should be educated.