Youthink! The World Bank's blog for youth
Syndicate content

Empowering Girls and Young Women: What Works

Bassam Sebti's picture
Also available in: 中文 | Español | العربية | Français
 Dana Smillie / World Bank
Girls attend morning assembly at the Shaheed Mohamed Motaher Zaid School
in Sana'a, Yemen. Photo: Dana Smillie / World Bank

When Laila returned home from school in rural Yemen, she did not expect what her father, Nasser, had in store for her: a husband, a much older husband.

​Tears, screams, and cries did not help. The 13 year-old girl was threatened with being beaten and even killed if she resisted. So she gave up her cries and surrendered to be forcibly married, as she told UNICEF recently.
“I was helpless. It was like a nightmare. I saw my world crashing around me,” said Laila. “I wanted the nightmare to end so I could be back at school with my friends.”

Laila is an example of girls who face and endure several crises in different parts of the world, mostly in developing countries. International organizations have been relentlessly addressing these crises and working hard on finding solutions that can provide better chances to the victims and even prevent a crisis before it happens.

The World Bank has recently released new briefs that shed new light on what works in development interventions targeting girls and young women, who still account for a disproportionate share of the world’s poor.

One brief explains that programs effective in delaying marriage do so by supporting girls’ educational attainment, increasing their perceived value, and expanding their opportunities. Another shows that structural interventions combined with individual and family level financial incentives show the greatest promise for improving education outcomes and leveling the playing field for girls.

A third brief finds that implementing comprehensive, interactive interventions in schools and community settings, increasing access to education, and promoting girls’ empowerment all show promise in improving sexual and reproductive health outcomes, particularly among adolescents.

The release of the briefs comes in time as the world approaches the deadline of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, one of which is promoting gender equality and empowering women.

Educating, empowering, and employing the largest-ever generation of young people is vital to ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity — the World Bank Group's twin corporate goals.

It takes a group effort to do achieve that. How are you participating? Tell us in the comments below!  


Submitted by brenda on

Involving men during planning and implementation of initiatives geared towards empowering girls. Highlighting the value of girl education and risks involved with child marriage.
At BRAC uganda we have created safe space for girls who have dropped out of schools.organized them in clubs where they receive training on life skills,financial literacy and those interested in accessing loans to invest in income generating activities are trained on financial mgt assessed and later receive the loans.
At the club with the guidance of their mentor, they engage in a number of board activities, outdoor games. Mother and father forums are convened monthly to discuss problems the youth face and possible solutions the youth face.
Research indicates that parents who attend these forums are unlikely to force their young daughters into marriage.....

Submitted by Tan Poh Ching on

How about involving young men, the sons and brothers too for the planning, other than the fathers...that means men of all ages, from youth age onwards?

Submitted by deepak borah on

Vocational education is more important for the economic development of poor youth. But because it is hard to finance such education the poor do not have access in most countries. Privatization of education, particularly in professional sectors, has been affecting poor people adversely. Governments should put more effort in developing affordable vocational training for poor youth.

Submitted by Aneze on

This true I agree because not everybody`s cut up to go University but If they can go to a technical school learn that put themselves to work this is the key. empowering them with the tool of a profession that can help them move forward. Country like mine(Haiti) I have seen lots of high school graduate that can not go further their education due to the fact that their parents don`t have the money to push them. I cry because some of them are mine families but I can not help them, because I do not have much. If these types of help can only reach them they will be excel. Those youngsters can not afford to go to private school.

Submitted by Tan Poh Ching on

A public campaign with key message that daughters are as equal as sons, target audience to be the parents.