New World Bank Data and a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment Seek to Accelerate The Girl Effect Movement

"Girl Effect Dividend" Underscores the Investment in Girls as the Highest Return

Sep 21, 2011, 09:08 ET from Nike Foundation

BEAVERTON, Ore., Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Harnessing the power of the Girl Effect movement and the belief that by investing in girls we can stop poverty before it starts, the Nike Foundation continues to shed light on the need for girl-specific programming with the introduction of 12+ (Rwanda) at this week's Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York.

The Nike Foundation is also elevating the study "Measuring the Economic Gain of Investing in Girls: The Girl Effect Dividend," the first paper of its kind to measure the economic impact of excluding adolescent girls in development countries, as well as an unprecedented, girl-specific summary of the 2012 World Development Report, "Smarter Economics: Investing in Girls," being released by the World Bank this week.

Girl-Specific Programming

The Government of Rwanda, the Nike Foundation, and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), are partnering to pilot the 12+ program – a year-long, health-based learning experience for 12-year old girls in Rwanda.

The program establishes a new "norm" where girls have access to information, expect to be informed, have knowledgeable mentors and friends, and find out necessary information. 12+ is designed to reach girls before their 13th birthdays to ensure that those most vulnerable to unhealthy outcomes receive the information and care they need.

Driven by a Commitment to Action (CTA) at CGI, the 12+ program will foster a support network through mentorship, safe spaces for girls, education in reproductive health and financial literacy, and interactive challenges that leverage the power of strong social networks and social capital.

"Adolescence remains the most critical period when girls are at the greatest risk of being impacted by irreversible negative consequences. By investing in and equipping girls as early as the age of 12 we are creating the next generation of girl champions, and promoting healthier, more sustainable communities and nations," said Maria Eitel, President and CEO of the Nike Foundation. "This is what we call the girl effect."

The 12+ program is one of more than 80 programs funded by the Nike Foundation that supports the Girl Effect on the ground in developing countries around the world. The Nike Foundation identifies and funds bold, creative, ambitious programs – new or established – that support the Girl Effect in the areas of education, violence and safety, child marriage and pregnancy

The Girl Effect Dividend
The impact of not investing in girls is significant. The Nike Foundation in partnership with the World Bank is releasing "Measuring the Economic Gain of Investing in Girls: The Girl Effect Dividend."  Co-authored by leading economists Jad Chaaban and Wendy Cunningham and sponsored in part by the Nike Foundation, the paper approximates the true economic costs of excluding girls from development programs.  

The Girl Effect Dividend highlights the challenges girls face with early pregnancy and gaining access to education and employment: 91 million girls are not in school. 14 million will give birth this year (and they are 2-to-5 times likelier to die from it as women in their twenties). On average, 41% of girls in 12 countries studied are jobless – that is, not working and not in school.

Healthier and better-educated girls who have access to labor markets translate to trillions of dollars added to GDP in the world's poorest countries:

  • In Kenya a girl who does not delay her first childbirth will lose $44,000 in future earnings on average. This in a country where girls and young women earn less than seven dollars a day. Multiply the number of teen mothers by 220,000 and Kenya reduces the opportunity to earn $10 billion in national income over the lifetime of those girls.
  • In India, adolescent pregnancy costs the economy $383 billion over the span of an average life time. That's about the same amount as all of the world's 2009 development aid. And, it's nearly as much as the combined 2010 profits of the Fortune 100.
  • If older girls were in the job market at the same rate as boys in 12 developing countries, they'd inject $283 billion into their economies in a single year. That amount exceeds the GDPs of 160 countries.

"Estimating the economic cost of girls' exclusion is an important exercise – one that has given us a sense of the magnitude of the problem. When we see that developing countries are sacrificing billions because of girls' school dropout or joblessness, for example, we can start to understand just what an individual girl is giving up, and what that ultimately means to her larger world," said co-author Wendy Cunningham.

The paper also demonstrates the economic gain from investing in girls.  For instance, paper authors state, "we find that investing in girls so that they completed the next level of education would lead to lifetime earnings of today's cohort of girls that is equivalent to up to 68% of annual GDP."

Further, "closing the joblessness gap between older girls and their youth male counterparts yields a GDP increase of up to 4.4 % in a single year, a figure that rises to 4.9% when we adjust to exclude youth in school." Finally, "the cost of adolescent pregnancy as a share of GDP could be as high as 30% or as low as 1% over a girl's lifetime, depending on the assumptions used to calculate the losses."

2012 World Development Report Summary on Girls
The Nike Foundation has created "Smarter Economics: Investing in Girls" a girl-specific summary of the "2012 World Development Report" that highlights the theme of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Introduced with a letter by World Bank President Robert Zoellick and Nike Foundation President and CEO Maria Eitel, the summary calls out girls as the best investment with the highest returns, initiatives spearheaded by the organizations, and stories of the girls influenced by these programs.

To learn more about other programs and initiatives and hear more of these girls' stories, visit or download "Measuring the Economic Gain of Investing in Girls: The Girl Effect Dividend" or "Smarter Economics: Investing in Girls."

About the Nike Foundation
The Nike Foundation ( focuses exclusively on adolescent girls as the most powerful force for change and poverty alleviation in the developing world. The Foundation's investments are designed to get girls on the global agenda and drive resources to them. The work of the Nike Foundation is supported by Nike, Inc. and the NoVo Foundation, a collaboration that has significantly broadened the impact of the Girl Effect.

Anna Kukowski

SOURCE Nike Foundation