The Girl Effect

Posted on March 7, 2009


Chip and Dan Heath in their book Made To Stick refer to this website and organization.

The powerful social and economic change brought about when girls have the opportunity to participate in their society.

Here are some of the stats and messages coming from them.

When girls have received 7 or more years of education, they marry 4 years later and have 2.2 fewer children.

An extra year of primary school raises a girl’s lifetime wages 10-20%.

Reasearch in developing countries has shown the children of educated women are healthier, and more likely to be in school themselves.

A woman or girl will reinvest 90% of her income into her family. A man will reinvest 30-40%.

For every development dollar spent, girls receive less than one half of one cent.

If you want to end poverty and help the developing world, the best thing you can do is invest time, energy, and funding into adolescent girls. It’s called the girl effect, because girls are uniquely capable of investing in their communities and making the world better. But here are 10 things that stand in their way: 10-Actions Poster.


Biblically, the commissioning to those of us who are in covenant relationship with God is to care for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. It is the identifier and the evidence of someone who is a “believer.” And, sociologically speaking, I’ve heard it said that the nations/societies/civilizations that have always fared the best are the ones that take care of their children and their women. It is the identifier and evidence of a “great” people. While counter intuitive, if one stops to think about it, it makes perfect sense. Greatness, I suggest, has little to do with the strength and savvy of a nation in war and in economics, but more to do with the values and the ethics of the worldviews of that nation.

Noticing the date of this post, a time when we’re facing one of the worst economic crises in a long time, and panic and concern is rapidly growing, I can imagine that many will run towards protecting and bolstering their own portfolios to save themselves from losing too much. Perhaps, and perchance, this will be a time when we will awake to see, not just the errors of our management, but the errors of our ethics and values that led to not only poor management, but poor priorities as well. I’m hopeful and prayerful that we will return to efforts like The Girl Effect, and other organizations like it, to reassess our core values and ethics that drive our behaviors, and align ourselves to what is good, not just to what is profitable.

It must also be said that during times like this, those of us who are rich are inconvenienced while those who are poor are crushed/decimated.

My wife just emailed me back and said, “this is why we’re adopting girls.” I love changing the world…it’s what I feel I was made to do.

Posted in: Culture, Justice