The Girl Effect
By Ernesta Redi
Melinda Gates on the Girl Effect Panel in Davos
The Girl Effect
Davos - January 2009
There are 600 million adolescent girls living in poverty in the developing world. By giving one of these girls a chance, you start the girl effect. A girl who finishes high school has access to a job that pays more than subsistence wages and the chance to start a small business. Moreover, educated women invest 90% of their incomes into their families while their male counterparts invest just about 30%. When girls have safe places to meet, education, legal protection, health care, and access to training and job skills, they can thrive. And if they thrive, everyone around them thrives, too
"How can we affirm our commitment to the girl effect during the current Economic crisis?"
Was the question asked of Cherie Blair during her contribution to the panel discussion at this year's World Economic Forum at Davos.
Her reply was as follows:
"'We're talking about the strongest people in their society. They're people used to dealing with a crisis...yet somehow managing to still make a difference. We should have absolute confidence in these girls. It makes absolute sense to invest in them.....they're not asking us for our pity. They're just asking for us to enable them to do what they're already doing, but they could do so much better with our help'
"The Girl Effect on Development" ranked fourth in session sign-ups among all panels at this year's World Economic Forum at Davos. In a meeting where people were tripping over each other to hear ideas from speakers such as Melinda Gates about how to move beyond this economic crisis, CEOs and heads of state wanted to learn what girls have to do with it.
The arguments are played out very well in the striking 'Girl Effec't video which has been watched by millions on You Tube and on the Girl Effect home website too. Click here to view
"Investment in Girls is the solution to a long list of world messes from poverty and hunger to the spread of HIV and violence -- and in this financial crisis, it's one of the best investments we can make," said Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA, who was the panel moderator. In support of this point Mari Pangestu, Minister of Trade of Indonesia stated that :"A woman will use money she earns to get clean water for her family, while a man is more apt to buy a satellite dish for a television,"
The Girl Effect it is a breakthrough innovation, a largely self-sustaining economic empowerment program for girls at scale and is already showing its first positive results like Anita, a girl in India who learned how to run a business as a beekeeper and used her income to attend school, fix her family's house and pay for her relative's medical expenses.
To learn more about the Girl Effect Click here