The Girl Effect: What You Need to Know

The Lucky Girls

In 1972 I was 17, married, pregnant, and a senior in high school. I graduated that June with the rest of my class. My daughter was born that August and two years later her sister was born.

In 1976, at 22, I gave birth to twin girls. We also built and moved into our first home.

In 1981, when the twins went to kindergarden, I enrolled in Grand Valley State University part time. I finished my bachelors degree nine years later.

When the girls were in high school, I earned  my masters degree at Western Michigan University.

All four girls attended college. Today, they are all employed.

We are the lucky ones. We have our education, health, homes, cars, computers, cell phones and more. I'm beyond grateful.

It's time to help the unlucky girls. It's time to share, love, and help others grow.

The Unlucky Girls

Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries, are not in school. Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.

One girl in seven in developing countries marries before age 15.

38 percent marry before age 18.

One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.

75 percent of 15-to 24-year-olds living with HIV in Africa are female, up from 62 percent in 2001.

Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world. Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.

Every girl deserves a chance to go to school. Educated girls can prevent poverty. Watch the video below. and visit the website Girl Effect

If you'd like to join us and write your own article on The Girl Effect click here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Cathy | Treatment Talk October 3, 2011, 10:46 pm

    Hi Tess,

    Thanks for sharing The Girl Effect. I’ve heard about the site before and what an amazing cause. We don’t have to look very far to realize how lucky we are in the USA. Opportunity is available no matter what your gender is. You are a wonderful example of rising above and making good choices for your family. It’s not easy to go to school when you have kids at home. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully, someday all women will have the same opportunities to make their own choices and to grow up and be someone before they marry.

    • Tess October 4, 2011, 11:41 am

      Hi Cathy,
      Yes it’s so easy in the USA to want what we don’t have and forget just how much we do have. It’s heart breaking to see the videos of the children who have to get married. Without our help they don’t have a chance.

  • Lance October 4, 2011, 10:31 am

    Thanks so much for sharing a part of your story, and for spreading hope for girls all over the world. Together, we CAN make a difference!!

    • Tess October 4, 2011, 11:42 am

      Hi Lance,
      Your welcome. I was more than lucky. How my life turned out was nothing short of a miracle. Thanks for caring and sharing.

  • Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition October 4, 2011, 6:34 pm

    Great cause Tess,
    When we educate women or teach them how to make a living the whole family thrives.

    • Tess October 5, 2011, 7:39 am

      And what can be better than a family that thrives? Not much!

  • Anne SamoIilov October 4, 2011, 9:37 pm

    We are definitely the lucky ones…I took a moment this morning to share the video of one of the girls with my little one. And the one thing she kept saying was, “she can’t go to school?” School is still a fun thing for her and I think she knows she’s lucky to go. So honored to be part of this movement with you! -Anne

    • Tess October 5, 2011, 7:41 am

      Yes and for me it’s easy to get into “I need more, I want more…blah blah. I have years of gratitude journals filled and I still fall into it. I forget sometimes I’m a lucky one.

  • Aileen | Kaizen Vision October 4, 2011, 11:51 pm

    Such a strong and beautiful message to share Tess. It’s an important movement, and amazing things happen when people come together for a shared purpose.

    It’s truly mind blowing just how much there is to be grateful for.

    • Tess October 5, 2011, 7:41 am

      Yes I could spent my life on my knees in gratitude and it wouldn’t be enough! xox

  • Jen October 5, 2011, 6:05 am

    Thank you for bringing attention to the Girls Way. I will be sharing this video with my tween daughter. I think she doesn’t realize sometimes how VERY lucky she is to live in a community that encourages and supports educating women.

    • Tess October 5, 2011, 7:43 am

      It’s difficult for kids to realize this when they’re flooded with stuff to by through media of all forms. We are trained to believe we always need more no matter what.

  • Sandra / Always Well Within October 5, 2011, 5:02 pm


    I’m so amazed by your story and by what you’ve accomplished starting out as a young mother. You are right, we are the lucky ones. If only we could spread the wealth around, the world could be such a beautiful place for everyone. Thanks for being part of The Girl Effect!

  • Megan Bord October 6, 2011, 3:38 am

    Thanks for sharing in the writing circle that is bringing attention to those who aren’t as lucky as we are, and thank you for reminding me of my good fortune. You’ve sparked a desire in me to pause this morning and offer up prayers for those who need or want them.

    Love to you, today and always,

  • Tammy October 7, 2011, 5:32 pm

    Did I somehow miss you at Tamara Woodbury’s talk yesterday? So happy that you are taking this message forward!

  • Angela October 8, 2011, 8:47 am

    Yes, we are indeed the lucky ones. Thank you for the reminder. I really needed that.

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