UN — Investment In Girls Could Yield Huge Dividends

cashAccording to a United Nations press release, investing in 10-year-old girls could yield huge demographic dividend as well as pump billions into national economies.

The release noted the following:

  • Girls are less likely than boys to complete schooling and more likely to face forced marriage, child labor, female genital mutilation and other undermining practices.
  • More than half of the world’s 60 million 10-year-old girls live in the 48 countries with the worst gender inequality.
  • $21 billion a year dividend for developing countries can be unlocked if all 10-year-old girls complete secondary education.

Furthermore, it noted that forced marriage, child labor, female genital mutilation, and other practices continue to not only undermine girls’ health and rights but also threaten the world’s ambitious development agenda.

“Impeding a girl’s safe, healthy path through adolescence to a productive and autonomous adulthood is a violation of her rights,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.

“But it also takes a toll on her community and nation. Whenever a girl’s potential goes unrealized, we all lose,” he continued.

World leaders in 2015 put forward a new development agenda which currently serves as the blueprint for countries’ social and economic progress for the next 15 years.

According to the report, the agenda aims for equitable development that leaves no one behind while at the same time removing the barriers that hold 10-year-old girls back.

It also cited the following key statistics to highlight some of the issues relating to girls:

  • Nine out of 10 10-year-old girls live in developing countries, and one in five lives in a least developed country: one in five is in India, and one in eight in China.
  • Each year of education delivers an additional 11.7 per cent uplift in wages in later life for girls (compared with 9.6 percent for men). Yet, 16 million girls between 6 and 11 will never start school, twice the number of boys.
  • If all the 10-year-old girls who drop out of school or do not attend school in developing countries completed secondary education, they would trigger a $21 billion annual dividend.
  • Ten percent of 5-to-14-year-old girls do more than 28 hours of household chores per week, twice that of boys. Three in four girl laborers are unpaid.
  • Every day, an estimated 47,700 girls are married before 18.

“How we invest in and support 10-year-old girls today will determine what our world will look like in 2030,” said Dr. Osotimehin.

He also added, “With support from family, community and nation, and the full realization of her rights, a 10-year-old girl can thrive and help bring about the future we all want.”

Pollyanna Davy, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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