Philanthropy < Back

Three years ago, the Girl Effect sprang into being for one purpose: To get powerful people to talk about girls. It totally worked, and “The Girl Effect on Development” was a huge success at the 2009 World Economic Forum. For the first time, world leaders, business leaders, and the smartest and richest people in the world were talking about this untapped resource. But something else happened along the way: the thing called the Girl Effect was having an effect of its own. It engaged people, inspired people, made them cry, and made them mad. It made them want to do something like write books, give money, or sock ignorance in the mouth.

And who doesn’t want to sock ignorance in the mouth?

The Girl Effect is a movement. It’s about the unique and indisputable potential of adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world. It was created by people at the Nike Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the United Nations Foundation and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, but it's about you using your voice, your talents, and your community to help girls help themselves—and, as a result, everybody else. It’s about giving you the tools and the network you need to spread the word about what girls can do and, with a little elbow grease, change the world.

The math is simple: Girls + Girl Champions = Something Way Bigger Than All Of Us. That’s why we exist. That’s our whole schtick: to advance the Girl Effect. There are 250 million adolescent girls living in poverty today. By 2030, we want 50 million of them out. Nothing less than 50 million girl effects.

It has been shown that an educated girl will invest 90% of her future income in her family, compared to 35% for a boy. Yet 250 million adolescent girls live in poverty and are more likely than boys to be uneducated, married at a young age, and exposed to HIV/AIDS. Today, less than two cents of every international development dollar go to girls, the very people who could do the most to end poverty. As long as girls remain invisible, the world misses out on a tremendous opportunity for change.

The Girl Effect exists to help everyone. And everyone includes boys. Indeed, better lives for girls mean better lives for everyone in their communities, including their brothers, fathers, future husbands and future sons. When you improve a girl’s life through education, health, safety, and opportunity, these changes have a positive ripple effect. As an educated mother, an active, productive citizen and a prepared employee, she is the most influential force in her community to break the cycle of poverty.