Girls from Around the World, A Girl Effect Slideshow

We offer the following slideshow of girls we’ve met during our around the world travels in support of The Girl Effect, an organization whose goal is to promote awareness of girls’ issues around the world and to highlight the benefits of investing in girls as a means to poverty alleviation, better public health and community development.

The more we travel and see the world, the more I realize how fortunate I am. I grew up in a family that valued me as a female. They supported my education, encouraged me to pursue whatever profession I could possibly imagine and never pressured me to get married.

This favorable circumstance and social flexibility is still a rarity in many parts of the world.

Audrey with Group of School Girls - Khashia Village Near Srimongal, Bangladesh
With a group of school girls at a mission school outside Srimongal, Bangladesh

Why Invest in Girls?

Investing in girls is not just about human rights and equality. Besides being “the right thing to do,” focusing on girls’ education and health also offers huge practical knock-on effects for economic and social development. Girls who are able to remain in school longer are more likely to marry later in life and thus have fewer children, raise healthier families, contribute more economically to society, and pass the net benefits of all of this onto their own children. (Source: The Girl Effect Fact Sheet)

Take a look at the faces of some of the girls we’ve met along our journey. Imagine the potential if they all had opportunities for education, health protection and support from society (some of them have, some of them have not). Imagine the positive cycle reinforced as they invest in their own children in a similar way.

The future begins to look a little brighter, doesn’t it?

Photo Slideshow: Girls From Around the World

If you don’t have a high-speed connection or want to read the captions, you can view the Girls from Around the World photo essay.

 

Photos in the slideshow above from: Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, China, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkmenistan, United States, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam

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This post is part of the The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign taking place October 4-11, 2011. Share your own thoughts on the importance of investing in girls and The Girl Effect by participating here.

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Comments

  1. says

    Your photo slideshow is such a terrific way to honor women and girls you have met on your journey — and all those you have yet to meet whose lives we are contemplating today. The Girl Effect as a theme is very personal to me and looking through your amazing photographs has been extraordinarily touching. Thank you.

  2. says

    Beautiful slideshow and great topic. I recently read a National Geographic article about child brides in India and East Africa and it was heartwrenching to realise that there are still places in the world where girls are considered valuable only for their marriage price, and the younger the better. A sad reality that makes me realise just how incredibly blessed my life has been.

  3. Sutapa Chattopadhyay says

    This is a terrific, terrific post! Thanks a lot, Audrey!!

    You are also right that we should be very grateful as women to be born into the family we were born in. Education was very important to my family. This is a complete rarity. Basically what my parents were doing was investing in me, something that paid off for me and my offspring.

    The only thing we could do it pay it forward like our parents did. Audrey is right about the economic benefits of educating girls.

  4. says

    The girl effect is so powerful – I just wish the positive impact of supporting girls was recognized more amongst political elites (of all countries) and local populations.

    Girls should be supported and nurtured and educated regardless of the impact it has on an economy (because it’s just the right thing to do), but heyo! It *does* have a phenomenal economic impact!

  5. says

    @Roxanne: Putting together this photo essay was brought back so many memories and emotions; each girl has a story. Thanks for your kind comment and glad you enjoyed the slideshow.

    @Sunee: I’ll have to try and find that article – sounds like it was well done and presented the sober reality in many areas of the world still. We’ve been in quite a few places where boys are looked at as being an economic support for the family while girls are looked at as taking resources from the family (food, money, etc.). Marrying off girls as young as possible is seen as being good for the girl’s family (i.e., they don’t have to support her anymore) and prized by the man (no explanation needed). I do believe (and stats show) that when girls attending school – whether it is required by law or voluntarily – they are less likely to marry so young. Perhaps that has to do with their desire or perhaps the parents realize that there are other options for her. Whatever the reason, it’s a good thing.

    @Henry & Jordan: Glad you enjoyed the slideshow and hope you continue to follow this issue of investing in girls’ education.

    @Sutapa: When we’ve gone on projects for microfinance organizations, I am always really moved by the mothers we meet who have their children’s education – girls and boys – as their top priority. Sometimes, these mothers are illiterate themselves, but they know the value of education for creating a better future for their children. And those children will pass it on to their children.

    And like you, I believe that the economic benefit of educating girls with overflow into other parts of culture and society.

    @Christy: I become very frustrated when I see politicians talk about the importance of investing in girls – because they know it’s the “right” thing to say – but then no policy or resources are put towards doing actually doing something about it. We (and governments giving international aid) should evaluate based on actions and not words.

    A recent visit to Bangladesh was uplifting in that in a couple of decades they have been able to almost achieve parity between boys and girls at primary school by using a combination of policy/law and incentives. I have a feeling that Bangladesh’s future will be much brighter because of this investment now…

  6. Sutapa Chattopadhyay says

    Very relevant post. Given that today, 3 women are getting the Nobel Peace Prize for their contribution to women’s causes around the world!

  7. says

    @Shannon: Thank you! Glad you enjoyed this photo essay and what it represents.

    @Sutapa: I was really happy to see the choices yesterday for the Nobel Peace Prize! Beyond recognizing the incredible work of the three women, this decision brings a high level of awareness to this issue. Let’s hope this topic doesn’t drop from the media’s attention tomorrow.

  8. says

    I love this post. I think that a lot of people do not realize how much of a difference women can make, in bringing up the lives of those in third world or developing countries. I studied a lot about this in college and learned so much valuable information. I had never heard of this website. Thanks for sharing the post and introducing me to this website!

  9. says

    @Sunee: Thanks for passing on the article. Just read it. Tragic. Let’s hope this is the last generation that has to go through this.

    @Jillian: Like you, I also studied this in college and graduate school. When you realize the positive benefits of investing in girls and women, it’s surprising that this wasn’t more of a development tool in the past. Glad you enjoyed the slideshow and learning more about Girl Effect.

  10. says

    Amazing slideshow. Thanks for sharing these images, and the message! I’m a big fan of a friend’s organization called Girltank, and I look forward to learning more about The Girl Effect!
    –Tamara

  11. says

    You post is beautiful and touching. As someone who was born and raised in India, I know how difficult it is to convince developing countries of the importance and education of girls. When I had my first child three months ago (in the US) everyone congratulated me on the birth of a girl. It wouldn’t have necessarily been the same reaction if I were born into a poor family in Asia.

  12. says

    @Charu: Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment and the perspective you provide. Your story of what the reaction would have been for the birth of a baby girl to a poor family in Asia is what we have seen as well in many countries. I only hope that with more investment in girls that this reaction will change and both genders will be celebrated. It’s a difficult, uphill battle though.

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