Friday, July 20, 2012

The Girl Effect

In the book Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James, which I wrote about yesterday, the author makes reference to The Girl Effect. If you haven't heard of this, take a minute and watch this video.

What do you think? Studies and practical evidence indicate that indeed investing in girls and women has a profound effect on a society. I fear that the potential impact may be overstated in this short video, because I think it underestimates the inherent sexism in most societies, where men will hold on to their power and prestige even in the face of clear evidence that the whole society benefits when girls and women are empowered and treated as equals. Despite this potential obstacle, I believe in the girl effect and have shifted the investments I make into charitable projects accordingly. While I don't exclusively support projects that promote the girl effect, I do actively seek to promote such work because I believe in the inherent dignity of women and I believe that when we affirm their worth and give them opportunities to succeed, entire societies benefit.

Consider this video:

Most of us don't have to worry about the future of our daughters. We keep them in school and provide them with good healthcare and opportunities for life. The girl effect isn't apparent to us because we already experience many of the benefits that it brings. Of course there are far too many exceptions to this even in North America, but it's nowhere near the situation that exists in much of the world.

What can you do to promote the girl effect? There are many ways you can invest in the development of girls around the world. Consider sponsoring a girl through an organization like Compassion or World Vision. You can also support women as they develop businesses to support their families, so that they can experience some of the benefits and pass them on to their children. Consider making loans through Kiva or Global Giving. These are only a few ideas. Find someone who works in a developing country and see if you can't directly sponsor a girl's education (because in much of the developing world even "free" education isn't really free and most poor families lack the resources to educate their children, particularly girls.) Check out the Girl Effect website for more ideas. 

I'll be off-line for the rest of the month. Look for new posts beginning again in August.

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