Community Update

Digital Empowerment Toolkit Now Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits aim to provide the resources you need to advance your social change work.

We are excited to introduce our Digital Empowerment Trainers’ Toolkit, a dynamic resource to help you bring the benefits of connecting online to women in your community. Check it out today! »

Why life is harder for Girls

Today, the world's seven billionth person has been born. It is impossible to say exactly where the seven billionth person on the planet has been born or who they are.

So the United Nations have chosen several newborn babies across the world to symbolically represent the global population milestone, including two baby girls Nargis and Danica who were born in India and the Philippines, respectively.

However, the stark reality is that if a baby girl is born in the developing world, her future is set to be far from rosy.

According to a recent report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) there is a widening gap between boys and girls in these regions of the world.

While they receive the same care and opportunities during early childhood, as they reach adolescence the anomalies in terms of health or education become marked.

“While there is little difference between boys and girls in early childhood with respect to nutrition, health, education and other basic indicators, differences by gender appear increasingly more pronounced during adolescence and young adulthood,” said UNICEF deputy executive director Geeta Rao Gupta.

If the seven billionth child born was a girl in the developed world, for instance in Europe, Japan or the United States, once she becomes a teenager she is likely to receive many of the same opportunities as her male peers.

Her education, health and career prospects may even exceed those of her male counterparts.

But if she is born in a region defined as ‘developing’ she is significantly more likely to be married as a child, less likely to be literate than young men in her country and, shockingly, should she be born in sub-Saharan Africa, is as many as four times more likely to contract HIV/AIDS than boys her age.

A World Bank working paper examined the real economic impact of excluding girls from learning or work opportunities.

For instance, just one teenage mother in India can lose $100,000 (£62,052) in potential income over her lifetime, while a single girl in Ethiopia who has dropped out of school can expect to lose the equivalent of two months’ average pay per year.

The financial impacts on the national economies is bigger still: the cost to India of the 3.8 million girls having children at the ages of 15 to 19 is $7.6 billion a year (£4.7 billion) – enough to fill every single car in the US with a full tank of petrol 100 times.

The denial of education to 4.5 million girls in Ethiopia costs the country $582 million (£361 million) a year.

So beyond the headlines about the seven billionth birth – which will come 12 years after the six billionth, a baby boy in Sarajevo – UNICEF chiefs are urging developing countries to improve the education prospects of their female citizens.

Increasing the availability of good and long-term schooling for girls will have a ‘ripple effect’ and help to break the cycle of poverty in those regions.

“Closing gender gaps in all stages of childhood and eliminating gender discrimination – whether against girls or boys – are fundamental to inclusive and sustained progress for countries around the world,” said Rao Gupta.

“In addition to the harmful and often tragic effects of gender inequalities on children themselves, the kinds of persistent inequalities that we continue to see… are major barriers to the efforts of many nations to move out of long-term poverty and achieve their development aspirations.”



Greengirl's picture


Thank you for sharing these vital statistics, It makes the whole picture a lot clearer. Sex disaggregated data goes a long way to ensure efficient and effective response to issues of gender disparity. There is so much work to do, towards empowering women, especially the girl child. Lest we are seen as being discriminatory against the boy child, I believe we must project the message of gender balance. Everyone must be carried along through proper integration of the different needs of men and women.


Olanike Olugboji

Beejay's picture

Quite right

Thanks sis for the comment. I am actually cross posting the article. I was fascinated by the UN's approach to the story and the various work done by them. Yes, there really is a lot of work ahead. We all will play our part. How are you doing by the way?

Keep the fire burning

Beejay Fabamise, Nigeria

Titilope's picture


Dear Beejay,
I love the way you gave, statics to paint the picture of the losses incured by not educating the girl child. Could you please avail me with the references . I need them for my work. We need this kind of statics to confront our policy makers so that the implications will sink well into their subconcious.
Well done, great article.

Beejay's picture

Yes U r Right

Yes dearie, the references are simply alarming. I am only cross-posting so that we all can see the stance of the 'power house'. Check or the UN website for more. A lot of work ahead lies ahead.

We will get there

Beejay Fabamise, Nigeria

Nezed's picture

The story gets sorrier by the

The story gets sorrier by the day... Thanks for sharing! Nice....

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

Beejay's picture


I feel you dear. We just have to keep fighting... We won't stop till sanity is restored across board. it is a very discouraging news but we will make it.


Beejay Fabamise, Nigeria

sunbo55's picture

Women keep on fighting

Thank you Beejay for sharing your view. We women must keep on raising our voices until we are successful. We must not relent.

Beejay's picture


My sister. Well said. The ball is in our court. Collectively, we will achieve more.

Great comment.

Beejay Fabamise, Nigeria

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

beautifully exposed!

A beautifully written article!

Thank you Beejay!

Beejay's picture

Hey Thanks

Thanks too Dearie. How are you doing?

Keep shining..

Beejay Fabamise, Nigeria

Kenia's picture

A Woman's Worth Shouldn't Need Justifying

It's amazing that, in this day and age, women are still suffering so much. There is still so much work left to do.

That said, while I love these statistics about how improving the conditions for the female half of the population will raise entire economies out of "developing" status, it makes me a bit sad...
I know we need whatever facts and information we can use for ammunition in convincing patriarchal society that it needs to treat women with respect, but at the same time, I look forward to the day when we can say "We need to improve the lives of women." Period. No justification. No "proving" that it would be good for everyone. It would be understood that a woman, in and of herself, has a high worth, is a valuable human being. And we would value her life highly, without justifying it with economic progress or what have you.

Thank you Beejay, for supplying us with these numbers--the ammunition that is, unfortunately, needed.

Kenia Perez

Beejay's picture

I agree with you

You are absolutely right. Let's just hope the day will come... sooner than we can imagine. I wonder what the world will be like if reverse is the case... Food for thought

Kudos my friend!

Beejay Fabamise, Nigeria

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative