Of Sanitary Towels, Education and Eventual Leadership of Girls

Are there any dots to connect in regard to this topic? But ofcourse there are, especially for those who know that stigma (from soiling one's clothes) in itself can dent the life of a girl-child. If memory serves, back in the 90's some Schools gave sanitary towels to their female students at the start (and somewhere in the middle?) of the term. This seems to have stopped at some point and triggered a debate especially by feminists and girl-child defenders on the need to keep girl-children in school. Don't you agree that the monthly flow should not be something to keep our girls away from school. Education of the girl-child is a must, a priority, a subject that needs no debate, except for the short-sighted, and even then, ignorance on the need to educate the girl-child is no defense.

Having said that, it is very exciting to learn that Uganda now has a new policy that requires schools to provide girls with hygienic kits including sanitary pads. According to the Ministry of Education and Sports, each Primary and Secondary school ought to provide emergency changing uniforms, wrappers (lesu or kanga), knickers, sanitary towels and pain killers to help girls during their menstruation. Isn't this a move to enhance the quality of education for girls and the country at large? Ofcourse some schools have already indicated that this move will compel them to charge higher school fees, but sustainability of this positive development is a discussion for another day. Let us first concentrate on keeping the girl child in school, at all costs because this way, they will be the Women leaders of tomorrow, formulating such policies; making such decisions; and implementing these policies and decisions.

Education is one of the most critical areas of empowerment for women and girls, as the Beijing Platform for Action affirmed. It is also an area that offers some of the clearest examples of discrimination women and girls suffer. Among children not attending school there are twice as many girls as boys, and among illiterate adults there are twice as many women as men. Offering girls basic education is one sure way of giving them much greater power -- of enabling them to make genuine choices over the kinds of lives they wish to lead, become the leaders of tomorrow and be part of the development of their nations. Education of girls is by no means a luxury. An educated woman is, for example, likely to marry at a later age and have fewer children. This is because when one goes through school, they are empowered to make informed decisions that affect their life.

Are you still in the thinking that educating your girl child will cause a haemorrhage in your finances for no genuine reason? Think again.

In the meantime, here's something for your own inspiration. It might be your girl-child in that seat tomorrow and you will be the one speaking nice and proudly of her...


Finally, long live Ministry of Education and Sports for a policy in favor of the seemingly little and yet big things we tend to ignore at times. You have reminded us of a Tibetan Proverb that says: "A Child without education is like a bird without wings." Indeed educating the girl child teaches them to fly on their own.