Girl Effect

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Girl Effect is an independent non-profit organisation, launched in September 2015, that works to end poverty globally. Its work is based on the common belief in the field of International Development that when given the opportunity, girls and women are more effective at lifting themselves and their families out of poverty, thereby having a multiplier effect within their villages, cities, and nations.


Girl Effect was created in 2008 by the Nike Foundation, in collaboration with the NoVo Foundation, and United Nations Foundation among others. It launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos with a film that challenged people to think differently about the role girls play in development. The film has been seen by 1.8m people to date.

Girl Effect brought on Farah Ramzan Golant as CEO. Maria Eitel, President and CEO of the Nike Foundation, was also brought on, as chairman of the organization.[1][2]

Since becoming an independent organisation, Girl Effect is still supported by the Nike Foundation and other funders, as well as by new partners. Their website exists to help this community continue to make a case for supporting girls.

Girl Effect logo installation at Nike's World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, USA

In November 2014, Nike Foundation and Unreasonable Group partnered to launch an accelerator dedicated to impacting girls in poverty called the "Girl Effect Accelerator".[3][4] This program brought out startups in the developing world including Embrace (non-profit), Jayaashree Industries with CEO Arunachalam Muruganantham, Bridge International Academies. The program was led by Nike Foundation's Tom DeBlassis and CEO of Unreasonable Group Daniel A. Epstein.[5]

Why girls?[edit]

When girls are specifically included in education, health and economic investment, the world has a better chance of preventing issues such as child marriage, teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty.[6] But girls still need the world to listen to them and invest in their potential.

One study has shown that an educated girl will invest 10-20 times more income back into her family and community than a man would.[footnote 1][7] Girls who receive an education marry at an older age, have fewer children, and are more likely to seek healthcare for themselves and their children.[8] Even so, nearly 250 million[9] adolescent girls live in poverty.[10] Today, fewer than two cents of every international development dollar goes to girls – the very people who have the capacity to make an impact on ending poverty. As long as girls remain invisible, the world misses out on a tremendous opportunity for change.

Better lives for girls mean better lives for everyone in their communities - their brothers, fathers, future husbands and sons. When you improve a girl’s life through education, health, safety and opportunity, these changes have a positive ripple effect. As an educated mother, an active, productive citizen and a prepared employee, she is the most influential force in her community to break the cycle of poverty.



  • 2009 nominated for Webby Award in “Activism” category
  • 2011 Nexus Productions Bradford Animation Festival, Best Commercial
  • 2011 Nike Foundation wins Global EthicMark Advertising Award
  • Mar 2011 Nike Foundation Girl Effect: The Clock is Ticking Wins TED's Top Ten Ads Worth Spreading
  • May 2012 - Girl effect voted in 19 best non-profit websites
  • Apr 2013 GE.ORG website nominated for Webby Award
  • Apr 2013 Sports Trade Awards - won by Nike, Girl Effect charity for event
  • Jun 2013 Life Ball - Crystal of Hope Award (100K Euros), Vienna, Austria
  • Aug 2013 Nominated for INDEX: Award for Design 2013 (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Nov 2013 Nominated for Create Design Award 2013 (Sydney, November)
  • At the Life Ball 2013 in Vienna, Austria, The Girl Effect was awarded the Life Ball Crystal of Hope Award donated by Swarovski, endowed with EUR 100,000.[11]


This campaign has been the focus of feminist and academic critiques. As other projects that talk of women and girls as 'the magic bullet of development', the campaign was said to rely on essentialist views of womanhood, depict women and girls in developing countries as 'in need of saving'. Further, these type of campaigns that do not take into consideration men and the relations of women and girls with their households and community often have the effect of overburdening women who are already responsible for childcare and all types of formal and informal labor.[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ $1 in female hands is worth $10 (and in some cases $20) in male hands as women tend to invest money directly back into the family, children, education, health care, etc. while men spend it elsewhere.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "People". Girl Effect. Retrieved 2017-03-31. 
  2. ^ Kanani, Rahim (2011-04-20). "The Nike Foundation on Unleashing the 'Girl Effect'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-31. 
  3. ^ Zax, David. "THE GIRL EFFECT ACCELERATOR LAUNCHES, AIMING TO HELP GIRLS EARNING LESS THAN $2 A DAY". Fast Company. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Tavakoli-Far, Nastaran. "The entrepreneurs helping girls in the developing world". BBC News. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "THESE AREN'T YOUR AVERAGE SILICON VALLEY STARTUPS". Girl Effect. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Banerjee, Abhijit (2001). Poor Economics. PublicAffairs. p. 320. 
  7. ^ Analysis by Shelley Clark, commissioned by the Population Council and Nike, who projected using suitable life event data from Malawi, Kenya, and Zimbabwe the proportion of women whose marriages will be disrupted by divorce or widowhood. This analysis excluded those who were never married, whether or not they had children, did not capture those in polygamous union or women who were economically abandoned by their husbands-this data is probably the lower boundary of a proportion of women who carry this responsibility.
  8. ^ The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (June 2010). "Millennium Development Goals Report 2010" (PDF): 35. 
  9. ^ Of the global population of adolescent girls, estimated at 582.3 million, 239.3 million (41%) of these are thought to be living in poverty.
  10. ^ Chaaban, Jad; Wendy Cunningham (N.p.: World Bank, 2011). "Measuring the Economic Gain of Investing in Girls". Working paper no. 5753.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ "Life Ball: Crystal of Hope 2013 donated by Swarovski for "The Girl Effect"". Retrieved 2013-06-11. 
  12. ^ Carella, Anna. "So Now We Have to Save Ourselves and the World, too? A Critique of the Girl Effect". Aid Watch. Archived from the original on 2013-05-08. 
  13. ^ Chant, Sylvia (200). "From 'Woman‐Blind'to 'Man‐Kind'Should Men Have More Space in Gender and Development?". IDS bulletin. 

External links[edit]