Spring 2014


I am lucky to have been born in raised in a country that sees me as a girl equal to any boy. I got to go to school and get a good paying job, on top of this, I am treated with respect and dignity by my society. Although I love to cook and raise my children such ideals were never imposed on me. This however is still not the case in many countries around the world.

Across the globe there are various levels at which girls are accepted in societies. Some societies are completely patriarchal. We have all seen women covered in black veils and headdresses. Some of these women are required by their societies to be unseen and unheard and even their gaze is to be kept down. Still, women around the globe are often live as slaves to the men in their society; they have no rights, and no voice.

Around the world nations continue to belittle girls in places it is less visible and even some developed countries continue to see girls as lesser than men. It is still the norm in many places for girls to receive lower salaries and live with the traditional expectation to serve their husbands’ will without a voice. In developing nations girls born into poverty are even more at risk of this.

Impoverished girls tend to marry around the age of 12 years, they then have babies by the time they are 15. Often these girls are forced to sell their bodies to support their families and through this they contract diseases and this cycle continues for their children (www.girlseffect.org).

The facts are (http://www.girleffect.org/explore/taking-the-girl-effect-to-scale/data-factsheet-2012):

  • If nothing changes, there will be 142 million child marriages in developing countries between now and 2020. That’s 37,000 girls a day.
  • Half of all the births in the developing world are to adolescent girls.
  • Girls between the ages of 10 and 14 are five times more likely to die in pregnancy or child birth than women aged 20 to 24.
  • Medical complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, less than one in five girls makes it to secondary school.
  • When a girl in the developing world receives seven years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
  • Each year, an estimated three million girls experience genital mutilation or cutting.
  • Worldwide, nearly 50% of all sexual assaults are against girls aged 15 years or younger.

Because of statistics like these a movement has been initiated to put more focus on girls in work that is being done to eradicate systemic poverty; specifically in the creation of the new Development Goals for 2015. Organizations such as The Girl Effect have been surveying girls who live in these conditions and are building platforms for change. With a focus on girls we can do more than save their dignity and fight for their freedoms, but we can build nations. Through helping girls we can bring change to all sectors from agriculture, to education, to healthcare, and more; because as girls we affect and utilize the entire society.