Updated June 20, 2010
Empowering Women Everywhere - Essential to Development Success
Empowering women anywhere, everywhere, is essential to development success in any community, in any country. By empowerment, I mean:
primary and secondary education
Women and girls are undervalued all over the world. Millions of girls are not tracked at all by their governments - there are no systems to record their birth, their citizenship, or even their identity. The 2009 World Economic Forum devoted one of its plenary sessions to the impact of educating girls in developing countries for the first time ever, and noted that only half a cent of every international development dollar currently goes toward girls.
access to basic health services
equal rights to men (property ownership, wages, leadership roles, etc.)
safety for women to engage in all of these activities
I want to track data, research and articles that confirm that empowering women is essential to development success. Hence the following list.
Some of what I note below is from lists compiled by The Girl Affect. If you would like to refer other research and articles, please contact me (no opinion pieces, please; research and case studies only).
If you would like to refer other research and articles, please contact me (no opinion pieces, please; research and case studies only).
- When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
(United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 1990.)
- An extra year of primary school boosts girls' eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
(George Psacharopoulos and Harry Anthony Patrinos, Returns to Investment in Education: A Further Update, Policy Research Working Paper 2881 [Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2002].)
- Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.
(George T. Bicego and J. Ties Boerma, Maternal Education and Child Survival: A Comparative Study of Survey Data from 17 Countries, Social Science and Medicine 36 (9) [May 1993]: 1207–27.)
- When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
(Phil Borges, with foreword by Madeleine Albright, Women Empowered: Inspiring Change in the Emerging World [New York: Rizzoli, 2007], 13.)
- Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world.
Girls Count, 14
(Population Reference Bureau, DataFinder database, accessed December 20, 2007)
- More than one-quarter of the population in Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa are girls and young women ages 10 to 24.
Girls Count, 15
(United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision and World Urbanization Prospects: The 2005 Revision.)
- The total global population of girls ages 10 to 24—already the largest in history—is expected to peak in the next decade.
Girls Count, 14
(Ruth Levine et al., Girls Count: A Global Investment & Action Agenda [Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development, 2008].)
- Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.
(Cynthia B. Lloyd, ed., Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries, Washington, D.C., National Academies Press, 2005)
- Out of the world's 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.
(Human Rights Watch, Promises Broken: An Assessment of Children's Rights on the 10th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, December 1999)
- One girl in seven in developing countries marries before age 15.
Girls Count, 41
(Population Council, Transitions to Adulthood: Child Marriage/Married Adolescents, [updated May 13, 2008].)
- 38 percent marry before age 18.
Girls Count, 41
(Cynthia B. Lloyd, ed., Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries [Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2005].)
- One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.
Girls Count, 3
(United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 2005.)
- In Nicaragua, 45 percent of girls with no schooling are married before age 18 versus only 16 percent of their educated counterparts. In Mozambique, the figures are 60 percent versus 10; in Senegal, 41 percent versus 6.
Girls Count, 44
(International Center for Research on Women, Too Young to Wed: Education & Action Toward Ending Child Marriage, 2007.)
- A survey in India found that girls who married before age 18 were twice as likely to report being beaten, slapped, or threatened by their husbands as were girls who married later.
(International Center for Research on Women, Development Initiative on Supporting Healthy Adolescents, 2005 analysis of quantitative baseline survey data collected in 2004 in select sites in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand, India)
- Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide. Compared with women ages 20 to 24, girls ages 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15 to 19 are up to twice as
(United Nations Children's Fund, Equality, Development and Peace, New York, 2000)
- As of 2006, 75 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds living with HIV in Africa are female, up from 62 percent in 2001.
Girls Count, 48
(Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, Keeping the Promise: An Agenda for Action on Women and AIDS, 2006.)
- Women and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Issues and Sources
by Brigitte Sorensen. 1998.
- Afghanistan National Reconstruction and Poverty Reduction — the Role of Women in Afghanistan's Future
The World Bank, Washington, DC. 2005.
- Rural women: crucial partners in the fight against hunger and poverty
Statement by H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda.
- Gender and Economic Growth in Uganda: Unleashing the Power of Women. Directions in Development.
Ellis, Amanda, Mark Blackden, and Claire Manuel. World Bank, Washington, DC. 2005
Empowering Women Everywhere - My Favorite Resources, a list of my favorite resources for information about the empowerment of women and girls. If you are looking to educate yourself on this issue, this is where to start.
Also see Women's Access to Public Internet Access, a resource I'm compiling to support the development of women-only Internet centers/technology centers/etc., or women-only hours at such public Internet access points, in developing and transitional countries.
Read more about my own women-focused/gender-inclusive work
If you are interested in updates to this section of my web site, subscribe to my blog. Don't have an RSS reader to subscribe to blogs? Not sure what RSS is? Try this RSS tutorial.
Back to my development resources main page
Disclaimer: No guarantee of accuracy or suitability is made by the poster/distributor. This material is provided as is, with no expressed or implied warranty.
Permission is granted to copy, present and/or distribute a limited amount of material from my web site without charge if the information is kept intact and without alteration, and is credited to:
Otherwise, please contact me for permission to reprint, present or distribute these materials (for instance, in a class or book or online event for which you intend to charge).
The art work and material on this site was created and is copyrighted 1996-2011
by Jayne Cravens, all rights reserved
(unless noted otherwise, or the art comes from a link to another web site).