Friday, 1 May 2009

The Girl Effect

This is one of a number of videos from the Girl Effect campaign by Nike and NoVo Foundations. When girls fully realize their potential, even in poor countries, they lift up themselves, their children, relatives, communities, and nation. The fact sheet Why Should We Pay Attention to Girls? makes the following points (giving sources for each):
The Ripple Effect
• in the developing world, a girl with 7+ years of education marries 4 years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
• each additional year of primary school adds 10-20% to her wages.
• each additional year of secondary school adds 15-25%.
• better infant and child health goes with higher levels of mothers' schooling.
• when women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families.
• today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world.
• More than 1/4 of the total population in Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa are girls and young women aged 10-24.
• The number of girls 10 to 24—already the largest in history—is expected to peak in the next decade.
Educational Gaps
• Approximately 1/4 of girls in developing countries are not in school.
• Girls are 70 percent of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth.
Child Marriage and Early Childbirth
• In developing countries, over 14% of girls are married before age 15; and 38% before age 18.
• In developing countries 1/4 to 1/2 become mothers before age 18
• In developing countries 14 million girls aged 15-19 give birth each year.
• In Nicaragua, 45% of girls with no schooling are married before age 18, compared to 16% of the educated. In Mozambique, the figures are 60% to 10%; in Senegal, 41% to 6%.
• A survey in India found that girls who married before age 18 were twice as likely to report being beaten, slapped, or threatened by their husbands as were girls who married later.
• Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading world cause of death among girls aged 15-19. Girls of 10-14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15-19 are up to twice as likely, as those aged 19-24.
• 75% of 15-24-year-olds living with HIV in Africa are female, up from 62 percent in 2001.

Girls in Kenya could, over their lifetime, lift the nation's economy by $27.4 billion through additional education, $25 billion if they delay childbirth, and $1.6 billion if they stay free of HIV/AIDS. Yet without policy intervention, staying HIV/AIDS-free is extremely difficult, and as a result, in Nairobi's urban slums a girl is six times as likely to be HIV-positive than a boy.

The Girl Effect campaign is supported by the UN Foundation, BRAC, CARE, Center for Global Development, ICRW, Plan, the Population Council, and the White Ribbon Alliance. See also our previous posts on Millenium Development Goals (MDG). For a Canadian campaign, see Plan International Canada's Because I Am A Girl video and Sep 2009 report.

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