Showcasing the World Bank’s recently launched “Think Equal” campaign, the Nike Foundation  yesterday unveiled an unusual visual message of equality and potential of girls at Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. Artists from Brazil, Argentina, and Kenya created installations to display at the Bank, including a banner hanging outside the Bank’s main complex and a series of murals inside the atrium.
The art works champion what the foundation calls the Girl Effect  movement. “If you invest in a girl you can stop poverty before it starts,” said Nike Foundation President and CEO Maria Eitel.One of the artists exhibited, Naddya Oluoch-Olunya is the creator of the Kenyan comic strip character Malikia, “a strong-willed, feisty teen from the Kenyan coast that is unafraid to fight for what she believes in.” Naddya’s World Bank installation (pictured) sends a similar message: if a girl is given the chance to harness her potential, there are no limits to what she can achieve.
The murals serve as a backdrop to this week’s 2011 Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, during which participants will discuss the impact of gender inequality worldwide. The Bank’s World Development Report on Gender , released earlier this week, shows that while advancing gender equality is the right thing to do, it is also smart economics. Bank President Robert Zoellick called the potential of girls and women in developing as well as developed economies “an untapped growth potential story.”
Eitel said yesterday girls’ equality “is not something small that we should focus on after the big stuff;” it’s at the center of every issue from education to governance. She noted that if Brazil were to decrease teenage pregnancy by 10 percent, $343 million would be added to the economy. In India, that number would be $767 million.
ThinkEQUAL Website 
World Development Report 2012 on Gender 
Nike Foundation 
Smarter Economics: Investing in Girls  (Nike Foundation)