The Girl Effect
Sophie comes from Manchester but has seen the error of her ways and moved to the east side of the Pennines to do her Masters in Global Development at the University of Leeds and be a volunteer in the Leeds CAFOD Volunteer Centre
The Girl Effect is an initiative founded by the NIKE Foundation that aims to place women and girls at the centre of international development. Whilst there have been other movements with a view to improve gender relations within development, there has not been a movement that has been backed by a commercial enterprise such as NIKE.
Although women’s equality has been on the international agenda since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the idea of actual gender equality has struggled to make true ground in the development field.
The Girl Effect focuses specifically on young women and girls within developing countries. According to financial institutions such as The World Bank, \’Investing in women is smart economics. Investing in girls – catching them upstream – is even smarter economics’. This is because with more years of education, women can have higher earning jobs, which will then be reinvested into their families. Studies now show that when women earn money or are given cash assistance, they are far more likely to use more of this money to help their families than men are. It is also shown that with women earning more within households, the women themselves as well as their children are healthier. This then inspires future generations of women to stay in education and support their own families, reducing the family’s overall dependence on charity and aid. This investment in girls is of vital importance as in many countries females are seen as vastly inferior to their male counterparts. This is not just restricted to pay and treatment within the work place as is experienced by many women across the globe. In the case of a lot of developing countries, from birth girls are seen as a drain on resources and a nuisance to their family. Simple acts such as getting sons vaccinated instead of daughters and only taking girls to hospital when it is necessary, and in a lot of cases too late, accounts for the statistic that in India, a girl under 5 is twice as likely to die as a little boy of the same age. It is estimated that 107 million females are missing in the world, and every year 2 million girls will disappear because of discrimination against them.
By singling out girls in developing countries, and raising the potential of females, there is the capacity to raise the expectations that families have of their female children. Investing in girls means that they can be seen as valued members of the communities they live within. Everyone in the world was made equal, it is essential that girls across the globe are aware of this fact and are given the opportunities they deserve.