The Girl Effect

So what is The Girl Effect? How is helping women going to change the world?

First, watch this great YouTube video that gives the overall scoop in a quick and fun way:

“Philanthropists call this the “Girl Effect.” The idea is simple: If you can feed a girl, keep her healthy and get her through school without being attacked or sold–or raped or cajoled into pregnancy–she can raise her family’s standard of living.

And by helping younger and older women with aid such as microfinance loans, field workers have observed that women are more apt than men to put the money they earn to good use.

Instead of wasting money on liquor or gambling, women start small businesses that enable them to feed their children and employ others.” -Source The Giving Chain,


Did you know that there are more slaves today—mostly female sex slaves—than there were at the height of the African slave trade in the 1700s? Check out this article: Girls For Sale



Oprah had a great episode with Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who are a married couple and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists. They’ve been all over the world: they were there for the Tiananmen Square massacre, they’ve interviewed drug lords in Africa, etc.

To make a long story short, they’ve come to the conclusion that the most important issues in the world today—from terrorism to poverty to sex trafficking—can be solved by empowering women.


Did you know that more American women died in childbirth during WWI than American men died in the war?
QUIZ #1: What was the one event–or tipping point–that made maternal mortality numbers finally drop dramatically in the U.S. in the early 1900’s? Try to guess, and then scroll down for the answer.


QUIZ #2: What is the leading cause of death among women of childbearing age (15-49) in India and Nepal, where women are often uneducated and marginalized? Hint: It’s not what you might think. Scroll down for the answer. 


WuDunn and Kristoff have written an amazing book called Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. I listened to the CD and it definitely changed my life and the way I view the world (oh, and Oprah said that it is a book that every woman should own).

You can also get their incredible the movie/documentary that was inspired by the book on Amazon.

at the very least, watch the trailer.

(if you need an extra reason to watch it, you get to see George Clooney…).


Here they are talking about what is happening with women in the world is one of the “truly transcendental moral issues of our time”:

“There were 37,000 baby girls ‘missing’ from the current population every year in China.”

-Watch the video to find out why


QUIZ #1 answer: Women got the right to vote! “It seems that when women were accepted fully into the political system, then resources were also made available in the health system and they, less marginalized, were able to take advantage of them.” Can you believe that’s what it took??

But today, women dying in childbirth is still a massive problem around the world. Maybe if we help educate girls and give them a voice, their lives will be saved.


QUIZ #2 Answer: The leading cause of death of women of childbearing age in India and Nepal is not malaria, HIV, or childbirth. It’s not starvation. It’s not heart disease or cancer. It’s suicide.

Why? Well, obviously suicide is an incredibly complex issue.

But as Maggie Doyne says, “This is a part of the world where girls are growing up in a culture of subservience and inequality. The women in our center can’t write their own names. They were married off as children and most are earning a living breaking rocks on the side of the road. In Nepal getting married means being uprooted from your family, your support network and everything you’ve ever known. We’ve seen in the small cross section of vulnerable girls and women in our own women’s center that most women don’t even know their rights, much less how to report when they are violated. So they silently suffer, thinking it’s their karma to be abused and threatened and neglected. They are shamed into not talking about it, but inside they are crying out for help.”

Read more from Maggie’s article here >


This sounds like a total disaster!! But what can I do to help women half way around the world?

Actually, it’s easy. That’s what this site is all about. Here are three ways. Pick one. (Or two, or three!).

1. Show this page to someone so that other people know what’s going on.

2. Join our Kiva team, which gives tiny loans ($25) to women to start/grow their own businesses — it helps stop this cycle of poverty and powerlessness. Your $25 will be paid back to you so you can loan it again and again to help women over and over again. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! And you pick the women.

3. Learn how to buy a girl a set of textbooks ($7), buy a woman a midwife kit to have a safe delivery ($5), provide a caesarean section kit to save a mother’s life ($65), and a bunch of other ways to help.


Here are more of Kristof’s enlightening articles and videos.




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