Teenage pregnancy – which is said to be unintended pregnancy during adolescence – has become a huge problem in our country, especially among girls of school-going age.
This has resulted in some learners leaving school while those that decide to stay in school are usually faced with the challenge of sitting with other learners with their growing bellies and risk being made fun of.
So what have we done about this? Although interventions have been put in place to mitigate teenage pregnancy, I feel too much focus is being placed on the girl-child while the boys – who are usually the cause – are left out of the picture.
Why do I say so? You might ask. Well, let’s look at the family as a basic institution of society, while parents teach their daughters to abstain from sex and not get pregnant, the boys are rarely part of this conversation at home, as if it’s fine for them to get girls pregnant.
But it takes a boy and a girl for pregnancy to occur and many a times I feel when we preach about teenage pregnancy as parents, teachers or leaders, we focus solely on the girls and totally forget about the boys that are part of the problem, because without their sperm no adolescent girl will be walking around looking fat for a good nine months.
And it is not at home only, this approach where we focus too much on what the girls should do to prevent teenage pregnancy is visible even in government institutions.
I recently attended a gala dinner at a school where speakers spoke on teenage pregnancy and advised learners not to get involved in sexual activities, but yet again the exclusion of young men was evident, as all the speakers and learners were female, except for one boy, who was there in his capacity as a member of the LRC.
Even our dramas or television shows depict and only focus on how a girl’s life is seriously affected if she falls pregnant, while the boy’s life remains the same with no disruptions. This I feel leaves boys with no sense of responsibility to prevent teenage pregnancy. I mean do they care? After all nature has also done them a favour as the baby usually lives with the mother!
I feel this approach is not doing us any good as we advise and speak to one half only, while the other half is let off the hook – with no responsibility whatsoever.
As a nation I think it’s time we also start preaching to our boys on the devastating effects their sperm can have on the girl-child, and let them take responsibility at an early age and become responsible men.
So next time you speak out on teenage pregnancy, don’t call the girls only. Let’s not give the full responsibility of preventing teenage pregnancy to the girls, they are also just teenagers. Let’s talk to our boys about teenage pregnancy too.
Until next time, Eewa