Why Girls?

Why women and girls?

No one is more vulnerable than an uneducated girl living in poverty. She is at risk for dropping out of elementary school, sexual violence, marrying early, becoming pregnant as a young teen, dying during childbirth, and contracting HIV/AIDS. If she survives, she will be raising her children in poverty and they too will be at risk.

And yet, girls have the potential to move themselves and their families into a healthier, more secure life. We believe that by investing in empowering adolescent girls, we are supporting the most powerful force for change on the planet.

Consider these statistics:

16 million adolescent girls ages 15-19 give birth each year(WHO 2008).

In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 5 girls do not make it to secondary school. (girleffect.org)

Gender inequalities such as vulnerability to rape, sex with older men, and unequal access to education and economic opportunities make HIV-related risks especially acute for women and girls. (UNAIDS 2013)

In sub-Saharan Africa, the center of the epidemic, women still account for approximately 57% of all people living with HIV. (UNAIDS 2013)

Medical complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15-19, worldwide.(girleffect.org)

In Uganda, 77% of reported child abuse is rape against girls. (ANPPCAN Uganda)

150 million girls worldwide are victims of sexual violence in a year. (UNIFEM 2011)

Less than 2% of all international aid goes to help girls. (girleffect.org)

Empowering a vulnerable GIRL can create a dramatic improvement in the world’s health, economic stability, and environment by enabling her to reach her full potential and create her own healthy family that avoids the deadly trap of disease and poverty.

An empowered girl can change the world!

It is now known that educating and supporting girls reduces infant, child and maternal mortality rates, population growth, HIV infection rates and changes the conditions that create a cycle of poverty. Women are known to reinvest 90% of their earnings for the family while men invest 35%. The health and wellbeing of the next generation is dependent on the health and well-being of the soon-to-be mothers of those children.

Girls can improve health and lower mortality rates.

When a girl has 7 or more years of education, she marries 4 years later and has 2.2 fewer children. (Center for Global Development 2009)

A girl who completes basic education is 3x less likely to contract HIV/AIDS.(The Global Campaign for Education 2011)

Girls who stay in school during adolescence have a later sexual debut, are less likely to be subjected to forced sex and, if sexually active, are more likely to use contraception than their age peers who are out of school.


Educated women earn more, and their communities benefit.

Increasing the secondary education of all girls could result in an annual income increase of 30% per capita.

(Chaaban 2011)

Wages rise by 20% for every year beyond the 4th grade that a girl remains in school.

(USAID 2011)

Educated women reinvest 90% of their income in their family, while men reinvest 30-40%.


Giving women the same access to resources and services as men could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 100-150 million.


“If you don’t do it for the humanity, do it for the security.”
– Bono

Human rights violations and inadequacies in education increase the risk of democratic failure, international violence and civil conflict – especially in poor countries where existing pressures already threaten people’s lives and livelihood.

Investing in women and girls is the most powerful way to address global poverty.