May 16th is commemorated worldwide as the day of the boy child. Don't fret, it's expected. Just like a million other individuals you and I were not aware of this hence the day while away like any other Saturday. Media outlets and social media platforms were just as quiet about the matter. In a society where only girls are glorified, what's the use of taking time out to celebrate boys? There has been a laxity when it comes to the boy child. His education, mental health and mentorship are no longer of importance to many. The SDGs have one goal: leaving no one behind. But is this goal only on paper? because boys have long been forgotten.
Women and girl child empowerment is paramount, but not at the expense of the boy child. It is becoming clearer that in most schools girls are outwardly favoured. Boys, on the other hand, get the shorthand of the stick. It is estimated that more than a thousand boys join preschool. Only 60 % of these join the university. The case is simple. Schools now lean on the opposite gender instead of focusing on both children. It is common to find boys suspended for one minor reason or the other, the answer being simple. Slapping a suspension letter on a gender that is seen as problematic is much easier than tracing the root of the problem.
No one wants to rise up for the sake of the boy child. This is despite the fact that we have over a hundred million men existing on earth right now. The fact that no noise was made by either the UN and other international bodies about the day of the boy highlights just how little the society thinks about me. In Kenya at the movement demolitions are taking place leaving a number of families stranded. The news headlines will read, Demolitions leave women and children stranded in the cold during the pandemic period? Where are the men? Who represents them in such cases? The truth is that very many men also lost their homes but no one has time for that.
Boys are future fathers. The same men who a decade or two from now will be expected to raise healthy sons and daughters. Our thinking is myopic to the fact that this is their future. We instead aim at fighting them whenever we get the chance. The same shift that has been seen by women all over the world demanding recognition will be pushed for by men in a few years if this trend is not put to rest. Boys just like girls deserve a chance. Boy child empowerment by no means threatens the girl child movement. The ideas that one gender has to topple the other is very much outdated. Such an approach encourages conflicts, disagreements, issues of sexual harassment as one has an upper hand over the other and to some extent Gender-Based Violence. As a society, we can greatly develop when we recognise our diversity and the differences that we harness from our different genders.
A society can only develop when it takes advantage of its diversity, in terms of gender and in terms of ethnicity.
The challenges boys are facing right now are different from the ones faced by any other person. At this juncture, the right amount of time and resources should be invested to ensure that the boys are holistically catered for. The two sexes don't need to fight for the spotlight as there's room enough to accommodate us all.
A happy belated international day to you chaps, you deserve the recognition!