The economic situation we find ourselves today is dire. Unemployment ramping up with an estimated three million people losing their jobs since the advent of this administration. Infrastructural decay and a tepid, at best, detached fiscal and monetary environment stunting production. The impact of all these and more on pocket spend and the standard of living can best be witnessed.
Let me bore you a little. Health care delivery is today not better than in pre-colonial times, education is comatose leading to the worse levels of capacity utilization. A bourgeoning population being herded by paucity in leadership and seeming visionless drive towards a collective immolation.
Let me further annoy you. The doctor-patient ratio is at its lowest since pre modern times, drastically increasing mortality rate, and lowering life expectancy which they say today is 60 years and should be dropping with the terrible access to robust medical services. It is in this sad state that the ‘girl child’ comes into the equation.
The unsung hero in our socio- political malaise is the long suffering ‘Girl Child’. In most homes, she has been thrown into the fore front of economic survival. Pushed to emerge the sole economic avatar in millions of households. Exposed to the risks that comes with the urge or should I say the need to ensure the survival of her family unit.
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She finds it very easy to hold down small retail jobs. The bastion of the growing service industry fed by the huge population of low earners. The girl child serves as the sales representative, model, show girl, marketer, business development executive and key door opener on behalf of millions of SME.
She earns an average of N40,000 to N100,000 depending on the industry and her personal negotiating skills. As a society we are bereft of clear statistics, otherwise, we would have loved to see just what percentage of the workforce this new and emerging demography represents – the 16 to 35year old single, barely educated girl child. But from very rough estimates they make up the sole bread winners of over 70% of todays households in the country.
Their efforts come with the downsides of sexual molestation, unstable relationships, frustrations and near start credible career possibilities.
Today, I dare say that the 16 to 35 year old girl child is the single most important workforce demography holding down business, helping them grow by their sheer efforts and determination to save their families from starvation and hunger. They are unsung, barely noticed and not protected but still carry on with their purpose in life.
Just take a cursory visit to one of the huge shopping malls that litter the country and see just how many of these types you will see selling, pushing, holding down accounts, carrying bulk goods, helping businesses all so that they can keep their parents healthy, pay the school fees of their little ones, keep the family running and taking care of themselves.
They can be found in all sectors from fashion, retail, car sales, manufacturing, farming, entertainment, education, and health, Politics every where. They keep the engines of the economy destroyed from a myriad of debilitating economic policies grinding.
As a result of their efforts, they today have emerged the most-at-risk groupings in the work force. Poor work conditions, long hours, poor welfare conditions since most of their jobs are kind of below the radar, no work place compensation, pension and other such welfare policies are news to them, no protection whatsoever. A sad tale for such a major economic force. Truly sad.
By Joseph Edgar…
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