Ghana on Sunday joined the world to mark the International Day of the Girl Child with focus on girl child marriage.
The day set aside by the United Nations, is to highlight key issues that affect the welfare of the girl-child and created awareness of specific problems that girls in many parts of the world face.
The celebration of the day which was spearheaded by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, was under the theme, “The power of the adolescent girl: vision for 2030.”
Although marked with some high profile activities concentrated in the capital city, it is worth pointing out that some attention was drawn way from politics on the day.
The focus of the celebration, which was on the challenges of child marriage, was unfortunately drowned by the ongoing political discourse.
Understandably, we are in a political season and matters of politics dominate the discussions, but The Times believes that child marriage, which persists in the country, should have found a place in the political discussion.
An estimated prevalence rate of child marriage in Ghana ranges between 12.2 per cent and 39.2 per cent. The world statistic is that, one in three girls in developing countries (except in China) get married before they turn 18.
What it means is that girls who marry early miss out on education, experience sexual violence, and bear children before they are physically or emotionally prepared.
The statistics are worrying and it must be a concern to the country, and that is why we believe that it should be a topic for discussion at the politic level.
The prevalence of child marriage in the society does not only pose a huge challenge to the development of the girl child but also retards the progress of the country.
The number of girls who are forced into early marriage constitute a powerful segment of society that could have contributed in shaping a sustainable world that is better for everyone.
Their talents, creativity, dreams, aspirations and potentials have been cut short by lack of equal opportunities.
To reverse the trend, it is important for us to raise awareness about the rights of the girl child and to advocate laws and policies that prohibit and prevent early and forced marriage.
On the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child, we salute all advocates of protection of the girl child and call for more support for them.