the girl effect: girls can change the world
The Girl Effect, n. –The unique potential of 600 million adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world.
Girls can change the world. At least, that’s the philosophy behind The Girl Effect, a movement founded by The Nike Foundation in 2008 in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls. The Girl Effect is a concept; a movement, and it is propelled forward by organisations, individuals and girl champions around the globe. It is not necessarily about raising the profile of an organisation or even raising money for a particular program. It is about raising girls’ voices, and its driving force is the idea that the empowerment of girls is the key to significant social and economic change in developing countries. A girl can transform her life and the lives of those around her so long as she is provided with the necessary tools, the right systems, and a chance to use her voice.
Studies show that when you improve a girl’s life, you subsequently improve the lives of her entire family.
- Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world. Approximately one-quarter of them are not in school;
- When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. An extra year of primary school boosts her eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent; an extra year of secondary school by 15 to 25 percent;
- When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man;
- 38 percent of girls in the developing world marry before the age of 18; one in every seven will marry before their fifteenth birthday;
- One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before the age of 18, and 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth each year;
- Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide. Compared with women aged 20 to 24, girls aged 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls aged 15 to 19 are up to twice as likely, worldwide;
- 75 percent of 15 to 24 year olds living with HIV in Africa are female. This figure is up from 62 percent in 2001;
- 250 million adolescent girls currently live in poverty in the developing world on less than $2 USD a day.
So, what can you do about it?
The Girl Effect has already been successful in so many ways – it has helped get girls on the global agenda at international conferences and influenced international organisations such as the World Bank and the UN; it has been the catalyst for Girl Effect clubs and the inspiration for bloggers; and teenage girls in Malaysia have even organised flash mobs to help raise awareness. The secret behind the Girl Effect is that it’s not one large campaign – it’s hundreds of thousands of small campaigns started by girl champions all over the world.
Which is exactly where you come in: The Girl Effect wants your voice. Share their video (view it below) with your family and friends; check out their Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages; donate to one of the many organisations working to forward The Girl Effect (by visiting Global Giving); or get yourself some cool downloadables from the Girl Effect website.
Above all, spread the word – it’s that simple.
(Image credit: 1)