Imagine living your life behind the men in your life; you never get a chance to learn or be healthy, and chances are, you make up a huge statistic of the people who are living in poverty.
You are a girl living in a Third World country, and according to the Girl Effect Organization website, “Girls are the invisible infrastructure of poverty. While her brothers go to school, ask 13-24 year girls in the developing world why they’re not in education, and 33 percent say it’s because of household chores. Pregnancy is the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19. There are slated to be 100 million child brides by 2020. Seventy-five percent of 15-24-year-olds in sub-Saharan Africa living with HIV are girls.”
The Girl Effect is “the unique potential for 600 million adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world.” Essentially, the world needs to look at the effect that these girls have in the world.
According to a CNN article titled “The Girl Effect,” “Girls are unique change agents. Igniting her potential and transforming her world starts a ripple effect of change — for herself, her family and her community. When a girl in the developing world receives seven years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. An extra year of secondary school increases her eventual wages 25 percent. Multiply that by the 250 million adolescent girls around the world living in poverty, and you get the most powerful force for positive change on the planet.”
Helping these girls is beneficial to the world economy. Then why haven’t we begun to do something?
So basically, if a girl benefits, so does everyone in society, including business. Girls as economic actors can bring about change for themselves, their families and their countries. Conversely, ignoring the girl effect can cost societies billions in lost potential. When do we in the First World step up and make a change in these girls’ lives? When do we start trying to partner with these governments and attempt to pass legislation to benefit not only these girls, but the failing global market?
Why do we find it socially acceptable to let girls live like this? These girls are being forced into oppression and have no say as to what situations they are being forced into that are ruining their chances of ever making their dreams come true. Even if that is the case, how can we live our daily lives as Americans wasting so much, taking our lives for granted, while these helpless girls are forced to go through situations that some of us could never even imagine. Why isn’t the world making a bigger deal about the potential that we have to make a difference in the lives of these girls?
These girls deserve a chance to live their lives, without the risks of disease and poverty. They deserve their right to an education as well as a right to their own bodies. They do not need to deal with birthing their first child at the age of twelve, contracting HIV at the age of fourteen or becoming a sex slave at the age of sixteen.
Honestly, these girls have every right to “the good life;” they deserve to grow up and have a real opportunity to succeed in their lifetime, without the worry of disappointing their families or dying of illnesses. I’m sure that we can all do something if we really wanted to.