- 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. (United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 1990)
- Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers. (UNFPA, 2007)
- An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent. (Psacharopoulos & Patrinos, 2002)
You’ve heard this all before, right? By now, the word of the Girl Effect campaign has spread far and wide, effectively using statistics and videos and catchy slogans to make the point that focusing on girls can have a major positive impact on many of the world’s most dire problems. It sounds so simple, but because of it’s simplicity, it can be easy to forget. I want this post to serve as a reminder to ourselves.
I am often wary of “charities” that exploit people living in poverty or crisis and their personal stories; whose intent is more to shock than to inform. This is why I appreciate this video from the Girl Effect so much (and posted it last year too) — it challenges us to look at each girl not simply as a faceless statistic, but as someone who is part of the solution…
Okay, so that all sounds good, but now what? There’s nothing I dislike more than “awareness” campaign that don’t connect you with concrete actions for change, so I have some ideas for us:
Put your money where your mouth is. There are some great organizations out there doing amazing work on behalf of women and girls, and they could use your help. One of my favorite ways of giving during the holiday season is to seek out projects in need of financial support via GlobalGiving.org and make donations on behalf of friends and loved ones.
Take some action. Lobby your local and national leaders to take steps on behalf of women and girls in poverty. The people in power need to hear from you! Don’t know where to start? Sign up for CARE’s Action Network, and find out how you can advocate for change.