While girls still work as domestic servants in the world then a ‘Day of the Girl’ is vastly needed to counter the narrative that girls from poor homes are better off being modern day slaves than being left to grow up in their own homes. This is a wholly immoral twist of the debate that positions choice as being a race to the bottom. Working as a servant or domestic help is dressed up as a progressive choice for families who are so poor that their daughters of young teenage age are seen as employment fodder.
While child labour was outlawed in countries where the Rule of Law was upheld it was never recognised as being such in countries with lesser governance systems. While progress for young girls in much of the Western world is seen as being delivered via education and skills in other parts of the world progress means migration which, in turn, translates into leaving their villages or towns and moving to the cities where their labour is sought after in busy households. Never mind that the work will not equip them for anything better in the employment market.
As an example, in Pakistan working as a servant is one of the largest areas of employment for children. In Burkina Faso thousands of young girls seek work in the cities in the hope of being able to help feed and clothe their families who are poverty stricken. The causes of such employment is poverty and discrimination against female children. In the first case, poverty, poor families are already working long hours in very lowly paid jobs with no hope of scaling up. Female discrimination tends to view girls as not being capable of doing more than domestic work.
Once employed these girls disappear into the invisibility of their employers’ homes because domestic work is viewed as belonging to the private sphere of family life. With no regulation in place and no awareness of their predicament these girls are often subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Many suffer from depression and health problems as a result.
A day like today would not be complete without remembering these young ladies of the future who seem to live as if their everyday existence is worth so little.