In several of the projects we have been involved in, specifically the ones looking to decrease poverty in specific areas or to increase health standards in low income areas, we have discovered a surprising(-ish) result. That is the trend that interventions that involve the girls and/or women in the area are the most effective, work the fastest, and are sustained the best. We have seen in our analysis of a number of complex data sets with research questions that ask some form of “How can we improve the quality of life in…..” that one of the most powerful answers is the get the women involved, or give the new resources to the women, or…..
There is an organization called “The Girl Effect” which has found similar results. The organization says it has one purpose: to get powerful people talking about girls. They address the “isn’t this sexist?” question very effectively:
“We started out with a problem that needed solving: Poverty. We did a ton of thinking and researching and talking to smart people. We came up with a quite surprising answer: Girls. Girls? Really? Yup. Girls. If it had turned out that rubber bands could cure poverty, we would have started the Rubber Band Effect. 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.”