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
1. GIRLS ARE AGENTS OF CHANGE
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.
2. PEOPLE ASSUME GIRLS ARE BEING REACHED
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.
3. THE COST OF EXCLUDING GIRLS IS HIGH
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 www.tiaw.org
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and find out how join.
It’s the kind of change that lasts forever.
Lisa Kaiser Hickey