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Project Syndicate: Unlocking Girls’ Potential

In a widely syndicated op-ed, Population Council’s Thoai Ngo argues that empowering girls with knowledge and skills to participate in the 21st century economy is not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do for global development.  

Due to many complex challenges, only 47 percent of women in low- and middle-income countries are now in the labor force, compared to 79 percent of men.  In a new analysis from the Girl Innovation, Research, and Learning (GIRL) Center, a global knowledge hub for girl-centered research and programming., Ngo and colleagues estimate that if we cut the labor-force participation gap by just half—from 32 percentage points to 16%—GDP in the affected countries would increase by 15% in the first year alone, adding $4 trillion to global GDP. 

“Empowering girls to use their energies and talents to transform their societies will not be easy. The key is to pursue a comprehensive approach—one that recognizes the fundamental linkages among programs and objectives, takes advantage of proven solutions, and adopts a long-term perspective.”

Download PDF: The Economic Returns to Investing in Girls

Read more in Project Syndicate