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It Begins With a Girl

Posted By TIAW Administrator, Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, April 22, 2014

For over thirty years, the mission of TIAW is to advance economic empowerment for women.  By ‘economic empowerment’, we mean that a woman is able to succeed and advance economically as well as freely make her own economic decisions.  However, women don’t start out in life as women, nor are they empowered in any way in many countries whether by cultural or political constraints.  It all begins with a girl.


According to AGALI (Adolescent Girls’ Advocacy and Leadership Initiative), which has

brought together over 100 leaders and organizations working to transform the lives of adolescent girls in Africa and Latin America, there are six critical factors that contribute to adolescent girls’ economic empowerment*:

Financial capital (e.g., cash, savings, access to credit, and other financial assets)

Human capital (e.g., education, health, self-esteem, and communication skills)

Social capital (e.g., social networks, friends, mentors, and supportive family members)

Physical capital (e.g., ID card, household goods, land, housing, and transport)

Social norms (e.g., early marriage, childbearing, influence of age, gender, and ethnicity)

Institutions (e.g., political and legal rights, market structure, and the education system


TIAW’s Daughters Program focuses on the promotion of economic empowerment for girls aged 14-24.  Our initial work is around financial literacy education.  We are looking for partners to add employment training and life skills training.


While there simply is not enough work being done to maximize the effect the empowering girls can have on our world, there are many organizations lending extraordinary effort.  A personal favorite of mine is the Nike Foundation, whose work I have followed for many years.  I urge you to watch the video Nike has created.  It will revolutionize your thinking about the power of a girl. 

Nike tells us why we cannot wait to help our girls


They play a crucial role in solving the most persistent development problems facing the world today. By investing in their economic potential through education and by delaying child marriage and teen pregnancy, issues such as HIV and AIDS can be resolved and the cycle of poverty can be broken. To learn how a girl's success is the world's success, watch the girl effect films above.


They're not. The reality is that children's programmes focus on 0-5 year-olds, youth programmes tend to focus on males and older groups, and women's programmes don't typically capture adolescent girls. Programmes that do reach girls rarely address the ones most at risk. To break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, programmes must be designed for, and measure the impact on, girls. 


In India, adolescent pregnancy results in nearly $10billion in lost potential income. In Uganda, 85 per cent of girls leave school early, resulting in $10billion in lost potential earnings. By delaying child marriage and early birth for one million girls, Bangladesh could potentially add $69billion to the national income over these girls' lifetimes.

With the permission of the Nike Foundation, TIAW is in the process of posting several of their excellent resources on

In the meantime, I urge you to take a look at their excellent research directly:   

The girl effect fact sheet

7 things you need to know about girls

Why investing in girls is important 

We must all engage to support the economic empowerment of the girl in our communities around the world.  Start by joining our Daughters Committee! Just email and find out how join.

It’s the kind of change that lasts forever.

Lisa Kaiser Hickey

President, TIAW


Tags:  economic empowerment for women  empowering girls  TIAW Daughters e- Mentoring Program 

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About Us

Who are We?

The International Alliance for Women is organized as a 501(c)3 foundation in the USA. We are a global community of economically empowered women across all continents that welcome you to our members’ cities and countries, connecting you with their networks of business and community professionals.

What's our Purpose?

The International Alliance for Women connects leading women’s organizations worldwide to leverage their reach and resources, creating a global community of economically empowered women.

Through our Global Programs we seek to make a difference in the world for those women who are not empowered economically.