As a woman, wife, and mother of a young teen, it is hard to read some of these sobering statistics about the harsh realities of life for so many girls my daughter’s age in the developing world: girls who are often overlooked and undervalued in their own cultures—girls whose creative empowerment, schooling, and health can hold true keys to breaking multi-generational cycles of debilitating poverty and disease in many parts of the world—the Girl Effect.
Tara Sophia Mohr, who stepped forward to focus attention on the Girl Effect by orchestrating Girl Champions the world over to blog about it, says of the campaign:
“The statistics are sobering, but fundamentally, there is more to be hopeful about than to despair about. There is actually so much to be excited about: We now know that when girls are educated just a few additional years in school, they marry later and suffer less spousal violence. They grow into women who can support themselves and their families, often pulling their entire communities out of poverty. There is a growing awareness among decision makers, policy folks, and the philanthropic public that investing in girls is smart investing to end poverty and human rights abuses.“
If you have a blog or publication and want to help raise awareness about the Girl Effect, you can get information to join in the campaign here. If you don’t have a blog, you can still share posts about the campaign on Facebook or other media sites, or by reading more about ways to help.
This is an excellent book that also shines light on how support for girls and women has the potential to change lives, communities, countries, and the world for the better: Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Publishers Weekly notes:
“New York Times columnist Kristof and his wife, WuDunn, a former Times reporter, make a brilliantly argued case for investing in the health and autonomy of women worldwide. More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century, they write, detailing the rampant gendercide in the developing world, particularly in India and Pakistan. Far from merely making moral appeals, the authors posit that it is impossible for countries to climb out of poverty if only a fraction of women (9% in Pakistan, for example) participate in the labor force. China’s meteoric rise was due to women’s economic empowerment: 80% of the factory workers in the Guangdong province are female; six of the 10 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese. The authors reveal local women to be the most effective change agents …”.
There is much work to be done everywhere in honoring women and their full contributions to society. And we all have so much to be grateful for and blessings to share, even in the current economic picture. The Girl Effect gives us pause to learn more about how we can help each other, both close to home, and in the world at large. Click here for more ways to make a difference with the Girl Effect.