In the developing world, most fights can’t be won by revolution. The world has just witnessed the stunning power of people in Egypt to depose their oppressive government, but it takes more than a willingness to stand up together to transform people’s lives.
The real villains in the developing world, after all, are often not people. They’re poverty, disease, lack of food and poor access to education or medical care.
These problems disproportionately affect women and girls. Recently, girls are emerging as a secret weapon against these deeper issues.
More and more research shows that investing a little time, money and energy in bettering the lives of girls in a community will improve quality of life for everyone.
Time Magazine has a nice piece on the power of investing in girls. Here are some of the benefits they cite:
An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10% to 20%. An extra year of secondary school adds 15% to 25%. Girls who stay in school for seven or more years typically marry four years later and have two fewer children than girls who drop out. Fewer dependents per worker allows for greater economic growth. And the World Food Programme has found that when girls and women earn income, they reinvest 90% of it in their families. They buy books, medicine, bed nets. For men, that figure is more like 30% to 40%.