In much of the developing world, women and girls continue to be subject to gender stereotyping based on deeply held patriarchal beliefs. This often leads to them being discriminated against, being treated as inferior to men and boys, and being prevented from realizing their full potential as human beings.
Gender discrimination and inequality can:
- lead to girls being prevented from going to school, or being taken out of school early to be married off or assume household responsibilities;
- lead to women and girls being restricted from economic opportunities and livelihood options;
- justify and condone gender-based violence ranging from domestic violence, trafficking and rape, to honor killings, bride burnings and sexual servitude;
- lead to women and girls receiving little to no healthcare, resulting in high maternal and girl-child mortality rates, and contributing to an increased risk of HIV/AIDS and other STD infections.
Good for Girls sees women and girls not as victims, but as survivors and change-agents. We believe that when girls are empowered and given opportunities to succeed, they possess the promise of becoming forces for good. They hold the key to positive development – socially, economically and politically – in their communities.
At the root of this empowerment is education, including skills-based learning. We believe that educating girls not only improves their lives, but also benefits their families and communities and stimulates economic growth. Studies have shown that educating women and girls is a worthwhile investment in terms of improving health, food security and family well-being, increasing economic productivity, and creating pathways out of poverty for communities.
Good for Girls is not alone in pursuing this focus – in their well-known publication “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn describe how several organizations and individuals had already in the 1990s begun recognizing the importance of harnessing the potential of women and girls.
“In the early 1990s, the United Nations and the World Bank began to proclaim the potential resource that women and girls represent. “Investment in girls’ education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world,” Larry Summers wrote when he was chief economist of the World Bank. Private aid groups and foundations shifted gears as well. “Women are the key to ending hunger in Africa,” declared the Hunger Project. The Center for Global Development issued a major report explaining “why and how to put girls at the center of development.” CARE took women and girls as the centerpiece of its anti-poverty efforts. “Gender inequality hurts economic growth,” Goldman Sachs concluded in a 2008 research report that emphasized how much developing countries could improve their economic performance by educating girls.”
We are proud to be a small part of a growing movement around the world, committed to empowering girls so that they can change their and their families’ lives for the better, and make a difference in their communities.
 Herz, Barbara. July 2011, Educating Girls: What Works. Drawn from a paper by Herz, Barbara and Gene B. Sperling, 2004. “What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence and Policies from the Developing World” Washington, D.C.: Council on Foreign Relations.