“You can’t marginalize more than half of the globe’s population and expect to see any meaningful solutions to the problems that ail the world.”
Those powerful words are from Dr. Helene Gayle, President and CEO of CARE and a member of ONE’s board of directors, about the critical need to put women and girls at the center of the fight against global poverty.
I wanted to share her quote with you because tomorrow is the UN’s first-ever International Day of the Girl, a day created to highlight the importance of empowering girls and ensuring their human rights. It’s an important moment for the growing movement — of which ONE is proud to be a part — that recognizes that investing in women and girls is essential if we are to succeed in the fight against extreme poverty.
For this inaugural Day of the Girl, the UN, CARE and many others in the community are focusing on ending the crisis of child marriage — and they need our help. No girl should be forced into marriage and pregnancy when she is still a child.
Take action now and tell US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to continue her leadership on improving the lives of women and girls by committing to increased investments to end child marriage.
Child marriage is a horrifying reality for tens of millions of girls in the developing world, often with deadly consequences. According to CARE, 15 million girls between the ages of 10 and 14 have been forced into child marriages, and 1 in 3 girls in the developing world are married before they turn 18. Child brides are treated as property — bought, sold or thrown away by their husbands at whim, and they risk death as they are forced to become mothers while they are still children. Pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death of girls 15 to 19 in low- and middle-income countries.
Women and girls are the worst impacted among those living in extreme poverty, but we also know that investments in women and girls are also the “best bet” in development because they help not only the women or girl — which would be reason enough — but her family and community as well.
Want to learn and do more? ONE recently launched our Women and Girls Initiative through which we will drive awareness and support for effective programs that are helping women and girls lift themselves out of extreme poverty.
ONE supporters and actress-activists America Ferrera and Alexis Bledel, and Claire Diaz Ortiz from Twitter, who all recently traveled with us to Honduras, helped us launch the initiative in NYC. We have a fantastic short film from the trip by Emmy-award winning director Jesse Dylan, which shows how women in Honduras are leading the way in tackling malnutrition and poverty in their communities. Check it out here.
This initiative builds on the great work of the ONE Moms – a global movement of female bloggers using their reach to spread awareness of the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease – who are on the ground in Ethiopia this very week, meeting with a range of incredible women who are changing their lives and the lives of those around them. Follow their journey here.