The girl effect
Somali girls study at a school in Dadaab, the world's biggest refugee camp, in Dadaab, Kenya. (Getty Images)
September 19th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

The girl effect

Editor's Note: Maria Eitel, president of the Nike Foundation, works with key players in economic and social development to achieve the foundation's objective of contributing to poverty alleviation.

By Maria Eitel - Special to CNN

Investing in a girl stops poverty before it starts. That's the simple premise of the powerful force we call "The Girl Effect."  This week, The Girl Effect is on the global stage at the Clinton Global Initiative and the World Bank Annual Meeting. Take it from World Bank President Robert Zoellick or former U.S. President Bill Clinton: Investing in girls is smart economics.

Girls are the invisible infrastructure of poverty. While her brothers go to school, ask 13-24 year girls in the developing world why they're not in education and 33 percent say it's because of household chores. Pregnancy is the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19. There are slated to be 100 million child brides by 2020. Seventy-five percent of 15-24 year olds in sub-Saharan Africa living with HIV are girls.

When we get to girls in early adolescence - before they are married, pregnant, and HIV-positive - we invest in a solution for poverty, not a cure for its symptoms. Girls are the future mothers of every child born into poverty. Girls are integral to our food security, global health, peace and stability, economic growth - the whole gamut of investments, not just education.

A working paper just released by the World Bank, The Girl Effect Dividend, shows just how powerful girls are. Take Brazil. If young women's employment matched that of their male peers, they would add US$23 billion to Brazil's annual GDP. With nearly four million adolescent mothers annually, India loses US$383 billion in potential lifetime income.

Girls are unique change agents. Igniting her potential and transforming her world starts a ripple effect of change - for herself, her family, and her community. When a girl in the developing world receives seven years of education, she marries four years later, and has 2.2 fewer children. An extra year of secondary school increases her eventual wages 25 percent. Multiply that by the 250 million adolescent girls around the world living in poverty and you get the most powerful force for positive change on the planet.

So what do we do? It's dangerous to think that we reach girls by targeting other populations. Girls are not the same as women or their male peers. Girls' needs are unique. Programs and initiatives must specifically design for-and measure-impact on girls. This doesn't mean changing everything. It just takes including girls in what's already being done.

Every year the World Bank produces the World Development Report to focus on the biggest issue of our time in development. This year's is on Gender and Equality. Being distributed with the WDR is Smarter Economics: Investing in Girls. It calls out girl findings in the 2012 WDR and builds upon them. It highlights girls as a critical investment for our future.

Take Berhane Hewan, a program designed to assist unmarried girls by imparting the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to avoid child marriage. In Ethiopia, 50 percent of girls are married as teens. Berhane Hewan costs only $10 per girl. Girls in Berhane Hewan are 90 percent less likely to be married and three times more likely to be in school.

Or look at a girl named Juthika. In poor families, a daughter is married off as soon as possible, removed from the family balance sheet. In Ishwarpur, Bangladesh, Juthika is rewriting that equation through BRAC - a microfinance program that unleashes her potential and transforms her world. Juthika has ducks. She has a vegetable garden. She tutors schoolboys and embroiders handkerchiefs. Her skill and initiative earn Juthika US$37 dollars a month. She puts herself through school, along with her brother. She supports her father and her mother. The local elders confirm: Their village used to be poor. When they needed rice, they went into debt. Not anymore. In Ishwarpur, the girl effect has made the difference.

Girls need skills, assets, opportunities and connections to break the cycle of poverty. But inspiring and equipping her is only half the battle. We also need to:

1. Fund education and target transitions so every girl stays in school until age 16.
2. Work with community leaders so every girl has a safe space.
3. Prioritize girls in HIV prevention plans.
4. Fund girl-led movements and ensure their voices are heard.
5. Give girls identification so she can have access to financial services and vote when she reaches legal age.
6. Bring girls reproductive health programs that start before puberty.

We know what works. We now need the political will to do it. Girls need laws, governments, economic systems and social norms that protect her from harm and provide the opportunity to thrive. There is a great deal of work to do, but the global rewards could not be greater.

Post by:
Topics: Development • Global • Women • Youth

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soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    Many religious fanatics deny girls their right to education. Girls are slaves to their duties – breeding and householding.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:42 am | Reply
    • Christianna

      Yes, all the pagan religions oppress women. Christian missionaries alone have been rescuing and educating women and girls everywhere. I'm Asian and we never knew men and women are equal under God until Christian missionaries taught us.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:14 am | Reply
      • Greg G.

        OH YEAH, Christians REALLY uplift and empower women... (gag)
        It's like the old joke: "What's the highest rank a woman can achieve in the Catholic Church? Nun. ('none)".
        Christianity is just another branch of the same root mythology born in the Middle East; one of the most misogynistic cultures humankind has ever produced. (Judeasm being older, Islam being younger).

        September 20, 2011 at 10:55 am |
      • Dude

        Here's an idea. Shut up already.

        We get it. You're a Christian and you think you are superior. You don't need to post another 100 times.

        September 20, 2011 at 11:12 am |
      • What T.F.

        @ Greg - How can you even begin to criticize and patronize this person when you have never walked in her shoes? Christianity may be a joke to you, but obviously it is very real to her. Why take that away when obviously it has had such a profound and positive effect on her life?

        September 20, 2011 at 11:13 am |
      • Greg G.

        Cute name there "What T. F.". How can I criticize her? Because she is a proponent of Christianity as a force of empowerment for girls and women. She made a statement that is patently flawwed, and I called her out on it.
        Any further questions? Now put your dunce cap back on and get back in the corner.

        September 20, 2011 at 11:49 am |
      • Anakaraya23

        Really? Christianity taught about treating females with respect? have you ever read the bible? or studied history at all??
        (Just to be clear I am not insulting christianity I am just stating a fact.) In christianity women are NOT the equal of men. They are beneath them. so I have no idea where you got your facts from, but you are wrong. Oh and many "pagan" religions said that women and men are equal in some, if not all, ways. Yes in asia it was different, but still. Please read a history book before commenting on something you don't know about.

        September 20, 2011 at 11:50 am |
      • Anne

        Christianity has been the sole source for oppressing women in Western culture for 2000 years. Every inequality between men and women traces back to Judeo-Chrisitan morals that say a woman should serve men, and it is women's fault that there is sin in the world.

        September 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
      • Legal Eagle

        Right on Greg G. You didn't put down her religion, you simply called her out on a deeply false statement. Christianity is as responsible for oppressing women as any other religion. So while I respect Christianna's faith and her religion, Christianity is not a vehicle to empower women (except perhaps as good, subservient Christian women). I can't be who I am AND be a Christian. Simply not possible...

        September 20, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
      • T's Mom

        ...or maybe Christianna is being sarcastic.

        September 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
      • Pancakes

        Alot of negative comments here. This article shows people trying to do a good thing. There is nothing wrong with that. its better than people complaining and doing nothing and criticize others. It does not matter to me who is doing the right thing........the person who is a christian, jew, muslim, non-believer, earth worshiper, who cares. Just do the right thing and help people out.

        September 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
      • Holly

        As retired law enforcement I have interupted Christians who were actively telling domestic violance victims they would lose their salvation if they left their husbands. Religion, including paganism, has nothing to do with oppressing women. It is about power.

        September 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
      • txwtch67

        You must be from outside the USA. Here in America, pagans are openminded nature based religion followers that celebrate women's freedom and embrace/protect mother earth. As a pagan wiccan, our crede is "an it harm none, do as thy will". Which includes not hurting anybody by thought, belief, action or inaction. Look up pagan religions before you paint us all with the same brush. Don't believe what everybody tells you, knowledge is the ultimate power. Didn't you read the article at all?????

        September 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
      • jez

        You clearly know NOTHING! Pagan Religions honored women. The Goddess is worshiped and women were honored for their ability to give birth. Learn your facts before spewing your garbage!

        September 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
      • big ben

        You are dead wrong about pagan religions. All of them have extremely powerful female goddesses. This is the reason for the extreme popularity of the Virgin Mary in Latin America. The fact that women gave birth was believe it or not, "very" important in early societies.

        September 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
      • Teri

        The Christian religion is NOT immune to this same thinking. I was married to a "good Christian boy" for over 10 years. He was raised in the church and even preached on some Sundays. Outside of church, he was abusive and of the "barefoot and pregnant" mindset.

        September 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
      • isolate

        Under God, perhaps, but the article was about life in this world, Christianna, not any afterlife you may believe in. Read it again to discover how women are treated in poor countries. And your argument that Christians treat woman equally is sadly mistaken.

        Take a look at the highest fertility rates (births per woman) for the bottom-ten poorest, least-developed, non-Islamic countries and you'll see a startling correlation. East Timor (7.47), Uganda (7.10), Guinea-Bissau (7.08), Burundi (6.8), Liberia (6.78), Congo (Kinshasa) (6.7), Angola (6.56), Equatorial Guinea (5.89), Rwanda (5.8), Benin (5.6).

        Now look at the literacy rates for women in those same countries, and you'll discover that every one but Equatorial Guinea is in the top 20 countries for female illiteracy. (source: NationMaster/WHO)

        And the magic connection? All those poor countries with the highest birth rates and highest female illiteracy are dominated by the Roman Catholic Church. Women in those countries have little or no access to birth control, thanks to the Church, and so spend their lives being pregnant, illiterate second-class citizens, raising girls to be as illiterate as they are.

        September 20, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
      • Babs

        I'm sick to death of people like this painting ALL Christians with the same brush. We're not all jacka$$'s. Most of us are educated people who want peace for ALL people. Including girls.

        September 20, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
      • blaine

        Keep the faith, Christianna: the people who hate christians are fearful of them because christianity offers a bright light and a moral guide that jews, agnostics and atheists do not possess.

        September 22, 2011 at 6:11 am |
      • alfred

        hey you forgot the little boys the missionaries actually go for!!

        October 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
      • Andrew

        Your right, although most posters here don't have the history knowledge to know, Christianity is the main reason women in the west have the freedoms they have today. The encouragement Christianity gave for women's education in the middle ages has spawned what we see today. Many Christian women were encouraged to start their own schools and become monks and nuns, which spawned a women's mission that has allowed women to become equal citizens in our society. CNN fans won't know this though, they are too busy trying to vilify religion to actually know anything about it or its history.

        October 4, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Bible Clown

      Until the Industrial Revolution, households were a grinding chore machine. Clothes were washed in boiling kettles in the yard once a week, on Blue Monday; you bought ice every day do keep food cold and had to kill, pluck, and clean your own chicken for dinner. Children were sick a lot and often died young, and unpaved roads blew dust in the windows all day long. If you wanted a household, someone had to run it, and men are like large gorillas when it comes to cleaning and cooking. Don't confuse religion with culture! If you told most women back then that you wanted them to go to college, they'd chase you out of the kitchen with a broom.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Reply
      • Generalisimo!

        I'm sorry, did you say men ARE like large gorillas when it comes to cooking and cleaning or that men were CONDITIONED to think they are bad at those things?

        September 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
      • Aucausin

        Men are just as capable in household chores, they are basic tasks that any healthy individual can do with know how and practice. Had men not been taught that they were above woman via religion they would have been taught the same skills as their female counterparts through the years.

        September 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
      • JoePub

        Come on people, the gorilla comment is funny.

        September 20, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
      • Dick Moran

        Men are not like large gorillas. More like undersize gorillas with an inferiority complex.

        September 24, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • Fuyuko

      Of course, if you keep women ignorant and bidible they are easier to control.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Reply
    • L

      Wow, while it is true that some fanatics, using religion as cloak, have done terrible things to women, it does not merit the generalization that many people make.

      Ever consider how dreadful atheist nazism and communism have been to women?

      If you can't detect a falacy (branding a whole group based on the actions of a few) in your argument, I suggest you go back to college, or get it started.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Reply
    • TheBuckStopsHere

      I prefer sterilization, too.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Reply
    • KumQuat

      In the Baha'i Faith, if parents are too poor to educate all their children, they are to give priority to the girls over the boys. This principle was enunciated more than a hundred years ago as a means to reduce poverty and to improve communities.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Reply
      • Ygnacio

        Megnel02 on September 4, 2011 I love that its made of bmbaoo which means it will be SUPER soft on babys skin.

        February 11, 2012 at 11:16 pm |


    September 19, 2011 at 10:55 am | Reply
  3. KRM1007

    Don't they abort female fetuses in India? barbaric and medieval. Wonder where the human rights/women's rights people are?

    September 19, 2011 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • EmmaJ

      I agree that abortion is barbaric and medieval, but why is it more so in India than in the US and other first world countries where both boy and girl fetuses are aborted?

      September 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Reply
      • kayjulia

        It is worse because mostly female fetuses are being aborted males are held in higher esteem than females there for a left to be born. This is a self defeating policy, but those who do it are following a religious social code going back thousands of years. In some countries not so long ago when there was a famine baby girls were killed now with sonograms they are killed even though there is no famine.

        September 20, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Bible Clown

      The side-effect of that is a girl shortage that leads to men fighting over girls and girls bossing men around, so let 'em skew their demographics if they like it that way.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:59 am | Reply
    • Fuyuko

      In china and other countries as well. By the year 2020 there will be a population balance in china of more men vs women of a magnitude of 40 mil plus.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • RS

      What rubbish. In India women/girls are considered Devi, meaning divine. Get your facts straighten before posting anything..

      September 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Reply
      • JLS639

        So you think all the sonograms followed by aborting female fetuses were because the females were divine?

        Facts are facts. The fact is India was a pioneer in sonograms to select and abort females.

        September 20, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  4. OregonTom

    Those kids are the future, teach them well.

    September 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  5. Mathewp1

    Wonderful article describing initiatives to help the other half of the population. This is what Greg Mortenson has focused on the past decade in Pakistan and Afghanistan, despite some of the recent petty complaints about his efforts.

    September 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  6. DoNotWorry

    I would like to see more focus on girls in the United States as well. Our level of teen pregnancy and HIV is enormous. Since boys are never taught to leave girls alone, the entire burden has always been on... the girls.

    September 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Reply
    • CaliCat

      I agree, as the mother of a boy I am determined to teach him to respect girls and women, but our pop-culture does make this difficult. Educate the girls, teach the boys some self control and set high standards for both of them, then maybe we can tackle some of the world's problems.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Reply
      • prettygreenbird

        Right on!

        September 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Leafonthewind

      Good point.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Reply
      • Kirat

        Posted on And the redears of most SF overlap with Fantasy which Space Opera has more in common with.

        February 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Thinker

      I don't necessarily disagree with you but, for the sake of arguement, how do you intend to make boys AND girls ignore 10 million years of genetic imperative that, from where I am sitting, is pretty persuasive. Education can only go so far.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Reply
      • Katie

        What genetic imperative??? Despite what men might think, we don't have an innate desire to pop out 10 kids apiece. Hence the strong correlation in most cultures between more education and less children. Having 1 or 2 kids should not mean sacrificing a career or status.

        September 21, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • really...?!?

      coming from a mother...yes...sometimes boys need to learn to control themselves, but girls on the other hand need to learn as well. such as dressing more appropriately and behave themselves. you are looking at a one-sided spectrum to fix this when there is another spectrum you totally ignored...

      September 21, 2011 at 12:26 am | Reply
      • Laura

        If you think people talk about men learning self-control more than they focus on criticizing women for how they dress, and blaming men's lack of self control on how women dress, and blaming women for being victims of horribly violent crimes because of how they dress... I don't know what world you're living in or who you're talking to. Discussion of men finding healthy channels for any "urges" they might feel is NEVER EVER prioritized over suggesting that women are somehow responsible for being appealing to men. It's sick. And sickening.

        September 21, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  7. Lost

    Where did the belief system arrise that a female is somehow inferior? All of humanity is in existence through the womb. How can we as "human being" deny any female, when she is so vital to our survival at all levels. What is wrong with the male pyche that stubbornly dictates to him that he is above the mother of his civilization: his first teacher, his first preacher, his first guide, and first and best protector is his mother. Before a man knew of God, he first knew his mother. We hear our mother's voice and react to external stimuli while we are in the womb. Every society that suffers in poverty, war, and disease is effected as such because the women are left behind and kept invisible. Every thriving society will fall in degradaton as the status of women are gradually lessened. It is not a sin to elevate womanhood. It is the best and fastest way to attract God's grace, when a woman is allowed to live her fullest potential.

    September 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • EmmaJ

      here here!

      September 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • Leslie

      All excellent points; thank you for taking the time to voice them.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Reply
    • Howie

      IIts in the Koran...

      September 20, 2011 at 11:16 am | Reply
      • mcsimas

        Old Testament, son. Literacy is cool.

        September 20, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Bible Clown

      The Bible says women should be silent and not talk back. Yeah, not gonna happen. God sure got THAT one wrong. Maybe he'd never met any women when He wrote that part.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:43 am | Reply
      • Floyd

        I try to tell that to my wife all of the time....

        September 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Anakaraya23

      beautiful and true.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:52 am | Reply
    • Bubba

      Don't be talkin' about my pyche, honey. There ain't nothin' wrong with THAT.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Reply
    • tmh44

      Very well put. and to quote a line from a movie and contemporary literature " Mother is the name for god on the lips and hearts of little children"

      September 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • Fuyuko

      "Where did the belief system arrise that a female is somehow inferior?" It arose from patriarchal values. It is the ones in power who make the rules.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Reply
    • hoeard foein

      Women are redundant at birth. i.e., 2 X chromosomes.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Reply
      • Thinks2010

        Women are human 2.0, the new improved version. lol

        September 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
      • Katie

        But those 2 X chromosomes make us genetically stronger. The Y is the anomaly and genetically unstable. Hence why men have more genetic diseases. Look it up.

        September 21, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Wastrel

      Not so much females inferior, but males made better soldiers. A primitive society had to defend against enemies and if food or land grew short, take them from neighboring societies. In Western culture this is an obsolete need, but it unfortunately still makes sense in the tribal cultures that prevail in the Middle East and Africa.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  8. Christianna

    Only Christians educate people properly. Secularism make kids bad – it's a trash nowadays.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:02 am | Reply
    • Bible Clown

      Yeah, we can all see how uneducated you are. Pretty sad, but don't blame your teachers. I bet they tried hard with you.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
    • Fuyuko

      I haven't noticed that, actually. Please cite your source.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • JoePub

      College was started by churches.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  9. Christianna

    For USA, educating Americans on history is a far more urgent need than educating world's girls. Americans have no knowledge on both US history and the world history and they keep saying weird stuff as if they are communists. The Protestant Judeo-Christian tradition alone stresses quality education of all, no others. Secularism only corrupts children and robs them of purposes to live well, producing numerous addicts to junks at the same time.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:10 am | Reply
    • Bible Clown

      That's a really weird thing to say. Are you a Communist?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Reply
    • OneOfTheSheep

      Actually, Christianna, those contemplating the "here and now on this Earth" should learn from history to think for themselves. Those who consciously develop a secular value system to differentiate right from wrong and maintain a good faith effort to be true to that deserve my respect and trust.

      History teaches us that those whose actions merely reflect a primal fear of eternal damnation by an arbitrary and omnipotent deity are seldom consistent and never to be trusted. To give credit where credit is due, those who brainwashed you did a really fine job when you were a girl!

      One is a logical and intellectual process of evaluating genuine choices. The other is unmitigated intimidation and peer coercion.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Reply
  10. salman

    i have seen proof of this with my own eyes. educate a man, he'll try and change something local. give a woman that same level of education, she'll change the same thing on a bigger scale. lets fund this education mission.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:00 am | Reply
    • BeTheChange

      well put

      September 20, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  11. Haleigh

    Beautiful and progressive. I've never left this website so satisfied. I think this is brilliant and very important. Step 1 complete out of many, many, many steps to come. I want to be a part of making this happen...

    September 20, 2011 at 3:35 am | Reply
  12. Muhammad

    My revelation is complete and I want to work with my worshipers who want to live a better life with me. I created website for my worshipers to uphold the truth.


    September 20, 2011 at 3:37 am | Reply
    • Christianna

      Another false prophet. A sign of the bad time.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:20 am | Reply
    • Mohamed

      Yeah! Me too! I had a revelation. Mine's bigger than yours.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
      • Mohamet

        Aw, size doesn't matter. No one's impressed by your big revelation.

        September 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Mohammet

      Oh yeah? The revelation that I had was twice as revelatory as yours.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Reply
    • John "Mohamed" Lennon

      You say you want a revelation? We'd all love to change the world.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
    • MC Hammet

      I do thirty-three and a third revelations per second, baby.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Reply
    • Fuyuko

      Read what Thomas Paine has to say about revealed religon.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • JoePub

      Can I draw a picture of you?

      September 20, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  13. Moe and Hamid

    We had a revelation, too! Two for the price of one.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:38 am | Reply
    • Bible Clown

      Can I get that to go?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  14. phiric

    I agree with and am inspired by everything Fareed wrote, except for the "political will" part. To the extent possible, the law should not favor or diminish either gender, but it should uphold each to the same standard (enforcement). Beyond that, PRESSURE to change coming from leaders/politicians would be a good thing. After that, it's up to us as individuals or as committed non-government organizations to do this work. Don't wait for government laws or money to bring this wonderful change about!

    September 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  15. Fuyuko

    Sadly, women have been valued as property so patriarchal societies consider them slave labor, and unequal to men. Even the bible's mythology states women were created from a man's rib, and due to the temptation by the serpent caused the end of eden. People have long minimized the feminine while promoting the masculine so it is no wonder that cultures do not value girls.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • Anto

      Hey Max, thanks for the fedcbaek.Got a HUGE list of books to read, like 100, but I'm going to add these books to the list, and not just the list but actually read them.Behavior modification and alpha bl, hmm. that sounds pretty interesting.Yeah I'm committed to go out daily. I know I'm progressing.

      July 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  16. Joe

    Seventy-five percent of 15-24 year olds in sub-Saharan Africa living with HIV are girls.

    By this statistic, this generation is doomed to fail.. then, will there even be a sub-Saharan population? I'm not sure if I paid enough attention in science class, but I'm pretty sure you need females in order to sustain a population. I realize that's the point of the story. Can this stat be true? I realize HIV is rampant, but 75%? sounds like a textbook case of the law of diminishing returns.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • Joe

      Yep, I'm replying to my own post....

      I see, this is just another sensationalized story. It doesn't tell you that "N" number of people have HIV... just that its disproportionately girls. They make it SEEM worse by using percentages to woo sympathetic viewers.

      For once, I would like a news story to be factual. Save the drama for your mama, writers.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Reply
      • Laura

        I think this is an example of poor reading comprehension on your part, not sensationalism. 75% of 15-24 year olds living with HIV are girls. Of 15-24 year olds living with HIV, 75% of them are girls. A much greater proportion of 15-24 year olds with HIV are female than are male, which is the point they were trying to make. It sounds like you thought they were saying that 75% of girls in that age group have HIV... which is not what they said at all, and if you think it sounds sensationalist then you have only your own head to blame for not being able to read correctly.

        September 21, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  17. Riley

    The only force that keeps a woman down is the domineering man. The more he thinks he's losing control of her the more he controls. It's the same across the globe. The only reason there is so much insanity in warring countries and regions is because the women are kept under control. Wars rage and killing continues; cruel punishments and penalties are meted out by men in power and humanity struggles because the life giving benevolence that is a woman is denied its place among us.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Reply
    • Liberty Queen

      @Riley Thank you for your powerful and truthful words.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • blaine

      we must reduce the surplus female population.

      China is a patriarchy – and on the verge of greatness; so, too, is India. the west is rotting from within because it is gynocentric. Weak societies are societies that privilege females; it has been proved throughout time.

      September 22, 2011 at 6:09 am | Reply
  18. Liberty Queen

    Investing in the education and betterment of Girls has a positive effect on the entire family and culture. Thank you for this awesome article.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  19. T3chsupport

    Running water. Bathrooms. Many girls can't continue going to school once they start their period, as they don't have anywhere they can go to clean themselves up.

    This is an excellent concept, and very logically sound... if you can get that through the heads of illogical, dogmatic cultures that think that doing anything different is evil.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  20. Leafonthewind

    Sounds like good work going on to me. Any program that encourages the young women of the world to NOT reproduce is a good thing. Better for them, better for the one or two children they may eventually have, better for the already overpopulated planet. Could we also initiate a program or two in those same parts of the world to teach boys why it is in their own best interests to treat girls with honor and respect and keep their hands off of them?

    September 20, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  21. Christne

    The only thing this article seems to be talking about is MONEY. ya, those girls are worth nothing more than the almighty dollar.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  22. Bomb all

    We r all going to die soon get real

    September 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  23. USN RET.

    Any group of people can be controlled by controlling the education they recieve.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Reply
    • Aucausin

      That's true, but in third world countries woman tend to be an ignored group. The point of the article is that if you educate the mothers of the future you'll affect all the generations to come. A woman who was educated herself is more likely and more able to see to it that all her children are educated.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Reply
      • iamnotaneoconidiot

        You cannot educate people (women, girls) who are not allowed out of their house or not allowed to go anywhere without a male escort. This plan is DOA.

        September 20, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
      • T3chsupport

        There are many, many more countries in need than just the ones that keep their women locked up. A difference somewhere is a difference somewhere.

        September 20, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  24. Mobius.Eight

    People don't seem to realize that in countries such as these, the men all have guns and are used to getting their own way. If you start any pro-woman organization, without the backing of those same men with guns, you'll only make the women targets. You can't change this situation by throwing money at it. Gotta get your hands dirty, which of course, no one is willing to do.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Reply
  25. iamnotaneoconidiot

    The only way "The Girl Effect" can be stopped is by eradicating the scourge of Islam from the world. All Middle Eastern nations, the Phillipines and many African nations have been hijacked by this disease of humanity.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Reply
  26. the_dude

    We need to stop worrying about random people in other countries. Sorry africa you've had hundreds of years to fix the problems sorry your couldn't get it done.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Reply
    • Laura

      What? Or for hundreds of years, Europeans were depleting populations, destroying communities, and stealing natural resources through slavery and colonialism.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:45 am | Reply
    • Tsetseglen

      haha how fun! i was born in Minnesota and lived there til I was 8, then I moved to Kansas City. I can remember some lsefhas of pre-school and my daycare at the time but I'd say 1st grade are some of my clearest memories. i didn't really watch much tv and rarely watched cartoons. i was a book nerd. but i did love all the shows on nick at nite- especially i love lucy and the wonder years i have a sister who's three years younger than me and my favorite disney movie is probably Aladdin or The Little Mermaid Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean recently posted..

      March 14, 2012 at 1:11 am | Reply
  27. Girl Power

    They should get their buns in the kitchen and biscuits in the oven!

    September 20, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Reply
    • Moammar Khadafy

      Dude. Even my goat knows that's "biscuits in the oven and buns in the bed."

      September 21, 2011 at 8:27 am | Reply
  28. F. Daniel Gray

    "There are always contradictions." (Mao Zedong) Hypocrisy! I assume Maria Eltel's Nike Foundation is a part of the Nike shoe manufacture corporation. Nike outsources it production to subcontractors in South Korea, China, Indonesia, etc. There, young girls were paid 15 cents an hour for a 12 hour day. Indonesian workers made about $2 per day; well below a living wage. The Multinational Monitor calculated that the entire cost for the production of a pair of $149.50 basketball shoes would be $1.50. Ahh, corporate America: don't let doing "good deeds" get in the way of making obscene profits, for example, off the backs of poor illiterate female "workers." Caring for and supporting female uplift? A very sick joke.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Reply
  29. dx2718

    Girls are the future mothers of poor people? And the leading cause of death is pregnancy? Wouldn't that reduce poverty, having them die before they successfully reproduce?

    Also, the statistic about women matching men in employment may be wrong. It wouldn't add to the GDP if all the jobs are currently taken; you'd just be replacing men in the workforce with women, leaving men out of work. In the U.S., that's happening, hence the rise of stay-at-home dads. The only way that adding women to the workforce would make a country with saturated employment better off is if the women were actually better or willing to do the same amount of work for less money than the men. Which might be true...

    September 21, 2011 at 6:29 am | Reply
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