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Girls’ economic empowerment

Girls and young women make up the majority of the world's 628 million unemployed young people who have neither an education nor vocational training.

Barriers caused by gender inequality and discrimination are preventing girls from going to school and getting the skills they need to access decent work and break out of poverty.

Not only is this unjust, it is a huge waste of potential.

Unemployment rates - young women Vs young men

In developing countries, girls’ jobs are often vulnerable, informal and unprotected. Girls are more likely to be paid lower wages - if they are paid at all - and be the first to lose their jobs. At current rates, the World Economic Forum estimates that it will take over a century to close the gender pay gap.

Get our newsletter to learn about our work with girlsMost of the work girls and young women carry out is unseen and undervalued. They perform the majority of care and domestic work, doubling or even tripling the length of their working day.

Girls also face unique barriers to benefiting from the digital economy and are 5 times less likely than boys to even consider a career related to technology.

Empowering girls

Investing in girls’ economic empowerment is essential to achieving gender equality. Enabling girls to learn throughout their lives and develop key skills can transform lives, communities and entire countries.

Each extra year of secondary education boosts a girl’s wages by 10-20%. In addition, research* (PDF) shows that women are likely to invest their income in keeping their children healthy, secure and educated.

Challenging perceptions

The economic empowerment of girls must start early – right from the beginning of their lives when gender stereotyping begins – and must continue throughout their lives.

This includes dedicated efforts to challenge perceptions about what it is acceptable for women to do, providing vocational training and life skills, access to loans and savings groups, and education on how money works. 

In India, our innovative Saksham programme is training thousands of young women from Delhi’s slums and is connecting them with job opportunities so they can become financially independent.  

Join the Because I am a Girl movement

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