The Girl Effect

By meredith, October 9, 2011 8:04 pm

What’s affecting me most right now in terms of women and girls is the widespread epidemic of child marriage. You can read more about this issue at Girls Not Brides, the global partnership to end child marriage. The word empowerment means to give power or authority to. In a lot of ways, empowerment means to give women and girls the power to make their own choices. This concept was reinforced particularly during my crisis counseling training a couple of months ago at BARCC.  Instead of forcing girls to get married, we should instead give them a choice: maybe they want to get an education; maybe they want to get married, some day; maybe they don’t; maybe they want to start a business; maybe they want to work for an NGO. Giving girls options to succeed leads to greater social and economic development across the globe. It’s a positive, bold, and bright step for all of us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e8xgF0JtVg

Just recently a book entitled ‘I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced’ came out. This girl was sold into marriage at the age of 10 to a 30 year old by her parents who were living in poverty in Yemen. He promised not to touch her until she was ‘old enough’ but that didn’t happen, and she was abused every day. She managed to escape and went to the city and found the court house, where she sat and waited. When someone finally approached and asked her what she was going there, she told them she wanted a divorce. Human rights lawyers took on her case, and she was divorced at the age of 10. Something is wrong with this story. At least now she can go back to school and study and, hopefully, with the support of others, find some other options.  Poverty is one of the root causes of situations like this, and this is one of the types of issues that the Girl Effect seeks to alleviate.

Not that we still need to give reasons why women and girls should have investments made in them, but a big place to start is in the statistic that women tend to invest 90% of what they earn back into their families and their communities. Investing in women is an investment for entire families, communities, countries, and for the world. You can invest in girls and future women today by donating just the Girl Effect. You can choose from any number of exciting programs, or to the program in general. And you can feel great about working to end poverty by investing in 12-year old girls. I feel really good about my donation, and I think you will too!

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