Friday, October 7, 2011

Girls can drive economic growth and social stability

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs: Adolescent girls living in rural areas of the developing world have untapped potential to drive economic development and help meet the world’s future food supply needs, says a new report released by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Girls Grow: A Vital Force in Rural Economies identifies opportunities to empower rural girls to spur economic and social change in their families and communities. Catherine Bertini, 2003 World Food Prize Laureate, serves as the publication’s lead author and chair of the project that produced the report.

Adolescent girls must be a key part of successful agricultural and rural economic development strategies, as they are many of the world’s future farmers, rural leaders, decision makers, and mothers. Rural adolescent girls face a triple challenge due to their location, gender, and age.

The report calls on national governments and bilateral donors to provide services and opportunities that both improve girls’ lives and equip them to be successful economic contributors. Recommended actions include ensuring girls complete secondary school, increasing access to vocational training, eliminating barriers girls face in the work place, building girls’ capacity as decision makers, enhancing health services information and delivery to girls in rural areas, and keeping girls safe.

Special attention is paid to how girls uniquely contribute to agriculture. Women in the developing world make up 43 percent of the agricultural labor force. Girls help with these responsibilities and handle, with their mothers, virtually all domestic chores, including fetching water and carrying firewood....

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