One of the ultimate goals in many of the projects we undertake is equality. Equality for everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability. For everyone. So the title of this post may seem a little counterintuitive. The “girl effect”? Really?
Let me explain.
A lot of the projects the Datassist team works on aim to do one of two things:
- Decrease poverty in specific areas
- Increase health standards in specific areas (usually low-income)
In the course of those projects, we’ve (obviously) collected and analyzed a lot of data. (No really, a LOT.) And over time, we’ve uncovered a surprising(ish) trend. The girl effect. Data indicates that inventions involving the girls and/or women in an area are:
- More effective
- Fastest to show results
- Most sustainable
When asking the question, “How can we improve the quality of life here?” our analysis of a number of complex data sets often yields the same result. Get women involved. Give new resources to women. It’s powerful, it goes against the grain, but it’s true.
The Girl Effect Organization
We’re not the only ones who’ve noticed this trend. Another group of people using data for social good went a step beyond and formed an organization to harness this newfound knowledge. It’s name? The Girl Effect. Their goal is to draw attention to this phenomena and get powerful people talking about girls.
But isn’t that sexist?
The team behind The Girl Effect is quick to point out that if data had shown rubber bands could rid the world of poverty, they’d be The Rubber Band Effect. This isn’t about a feminist agenda — this is empowering girls for the global good.
It has been shown that an educated girl will invest 90% of her future income in her family, compared to 35% for a boy.
Let’s put this into perspective with some more statistics. Today, less than two cents from every international development dollar go to girls. 250 million adolescent girls live in poverty. They are more likely than their male counterparts to be uneducated, married young, and exposed to deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS. So even though girls who do succeed are much more likely to perpetuate a cycle of success by investing their resources in their children, that’s not where the money is going.
Everyone Wins When We Use the Data
The girl effect — both the trend we’ve observed and the organization it inspired — can help everyone. When we commit resources to helping improve girls’ lives through education, health, safety, and opportunity, the whole world benefits. Not just girls and women. But also their brothers, fathers, future husbands, and future sons.
The surprising discovery of the girl effect does more than provide us with a shortcut to development. It also demonstrates the (often underestimated) value of data collection and analysis in the social sector.
What if all the partners we worked with had never bothered to look at the data generated by their projects? What if the people behind The Girl Effect hadn’t examined how development dollars are being spent — and where they’re most effective? By leveraging the data, we can allocate our resources more effectively. And that means we’ll soon see the change we’re working towards.
Are you part of a nonprofit who needs help collecting or analyzing your data? The experts at Datassist can help. We work with nonprofits, government agencies, and social sector organizations of all shapes and sizes. Let us help you make the most of your data.