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Press Release Of Osun Commissioner For Women, Children And Social Affairs On The Commemoration Of The Year 2020 International Day Of The Boy Child

On behalf of the State Government of Osun, I join the rest of the world to commemorate the World Day of The Boy Child. This year's celebration is on a low key due to the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic.

May 16 each year has been set aside for the celebration of our boy children.
The International Boys' Day aims at celebrating all the positive elements that boys bring to their families, communities and the world at large. The Day also highlights and addresses the unique needs and challenges that boys face as they develop.

This year's theme for the Day is "PROTECTING OUR BOYS: RECLAIMING OUR HERITAGE ". It is a call to all stakeholders to come together to identify as well as discuss the challenges confronting Boy Children in order to proffer solutions that will help the future generation.

Research has it that out of the 7.6 billion souls with whom we share the Planet Earth, close to 4 billion are males and a little over a billion of these souls are under the age of 15. Boys are more than mere extensions of ourselves. A boy child is a male child under the age of 18.

These souls represent our Heritage and serve as one of the links to the past and future of families, communities and the world.
No doubt, the Boy Child needs to be protected from harmful influences of the society. There is an urgent need to focus on the home and school in order to save the Boy Child. He lives in a turbulent social environment that makes him vulnerable to a multitude of negative forces and influences.
If a boy child is neglected or fed a diet of hate and violence, it is obvious he will develop into a teenager who is misguided and a misfit. His next crucial transition into manhood will be even more difficult, worse still when he becomes a man and is charged with the care of the family, society and governance. The boy child often engages in manual jobs not attending schools or partially attending. He is vulnerable to exploitations as a result of child labour and sacrifices his future for immediate peanut gains due to poverty or lack of parental care.
The boy child faces sexual assault, abuse and initiation into otherwise immoral sexual orientations and cultism. The boy child in the 21st century is faced with tremendous challenges which unless properly guarded may amount to society losing him, his gifts and his soul.

All children are future leaders and guardians of the future. The first aim of every family & society should be to raise healthy and productive individuals who are physically, psychologically and mentally developed and stable. These can be achieved through guidance and education of the boy child who is the father of tomorrow. May I ask to whom you want to betroth your well groomed daughter in the near future if all or majority of boy children are assumed to be good and ignored despite academic, emotional, psychological and societal issues facing them. This has been the reason why the rate of domestic violence and sexual assault are on the rise.

While campaigns for awareness of the different challenges facing girls are welcome, persistent one sidedness of these campaigns has resulted in ignoring the plights of the boy child. Analysis indicates that boy children are becoming more vulnerable to societal negativities than ever.
The society sees boy Children as being stronger than their female counterparts even when circumstances around them require support and attention, this places the boys in a disadvantaged position, a position of neglect.
Beliefs expressing the boy child as stronger, more intelligent and more powerful than the girl child have ridden our boys the protection due to them.

Societal expectations barring boys from expressing emotions, counting such expression as a sign of weakness kill our boys, teachings that males must be in control at all times and dominate at all costs have resulted in males often looking well and confident on the outside but dying within and silently too. The notion that the measure of a man depends on his financial capabilities has resulted in men perfecting the art of making money leading in most cases to engaging in corrupt acts while also unconsciously disregarding the basic element of spending time with their families and specifically mentoring the boy child.
The younger men have picked up same trend and are partaking in ''Get Rich Quick Schemes'' to fulfil the misconceptions that finances define them. Our boys are literally left on their own in this world manoeuvring their ways in life with little or no mentorship.
It is true that the world has for centuries, been under a patriarchal system that favoured men over women.
This historical development guided the wisdom behind creating an affirmative action agenda that focused on women empowerment. In defense of this, I strongly advocate for the empowerment of the girl child and the strengthening of the boy child.
It is high time men across all social classes make deliberate efforts to salvage the boy child. Such efforts will encourage them to stand by younger ones amidst life challenges. We must start discussing and identifying measures to address the plights of our boys and pull resources and efforts to deal with challenges facing both sexes. To ignore one category of gender is only exacerbating the gender divide as opposed to promoting equity.

We must recognise that boys are suffering just like girls, the challenges may be different though but they exist. Again, we must recognise that ensuring gender equality requires policies and administrative actions that deal with challenges facing both sexes.
Until we develop a society which takes advantage of its diversity in terms of gender and ethnicity, the human race is as good as dead as we will only continue to recycle our challenges and pass on the baton of illness.

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