Plan USA releases 2009 Because I am a Girl report
Warwick, Rhode Island - Plan’s Because I am a Girl 2009 report, the third in a series of eight, presents new analysis of the important role that girls and young women should play in driving economic growth.
"Girls in the Global Economy: Adding It All Up," is a call to action to invest in girls’ education and meaningful work opportunities to ensure a more prosperous and equitable society. Plan’s report finds that the cycle of poverty will continue as long as girls are not sent to school.
It’s in everyone’s interest to invest in girls
New research reveals that the failure to send girls to school is costing the world’s poorest countries billions of dollars a year. In Kenya alone, $3.2 billion could be added to the economy if the country educated its girls past the elementary school level. Just a one percent rise in the number of girls attending secondary school boosts a country’s annual per capita income growth by 0.3 percent.
In times of economic hardship, girls in the world’s poorest countries are the first to be pulled out of school as families cannot afford books, uniforms, and other necessities. Without an education, girls often end up doing dangerous, unskilled work, and their pay is so low they barely survive and cannot give back to their families or societies, continuing the cycle of poverty.
During a global economic shock, young women in the developing world lose their jobs first. Many end up in the sex trade. They are more likely to die young — either from the complications of HIV and AIDS or from giving birth to children who will also grow up to be poor and vulnerable.
“In developing countries, a deep economic recession could cost you your job, but in many poor countries the cost is your life,” says Plan USA President/CEO, Ahuma Adodoadji.
Millions of girls never receive the equivalent of “a high school education” across the developing world because culturally boys are considered more worthy and better earners. Half the population in the poorest regions of the planet are ignored as an untapped resource.
Plan calls for a 10-point action plan
Plan is calling for a global ten-point action plan, which includes providing girls with education, better jobs, access to land or property, and leadership opportunities.
World Bank managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has experience of poverty firsthand. She grew up in 1960s war-torn Nigeria in a family living on less than a dollar a day.
“There was no food. The situation was so bad that my family could at best have one meal some days,” says Ms. Okonjo-Iweala.
It was only a strong family tradition of girls’ education that rescued Ms Okonjo-Iweala from this life. “Investing in girls is the right thing to do. It is also the smart thing to do,” she says.
“It’s imperative for everyone with a stake in the healthy and peaceful development of the world that the status of girls rises up to the same level as boys,” says Adodoadji. “The time to act is now.”
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Notes to Editors