U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green on the 2018 International Day of the Girl

For Immediate Release

Thursday, October 11, 2018
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) celebrates the International Day of the Girl, which this year has the theme "With Her: A Skilled GirlForce." As a father of two daughters, I know the importance of supporting girls in all aspects of their development so they can thrive and accomplish their dreams. As I take pride in helping my girls succeed, I am also very proud of USAID's programs to serve girls worldwide to ensure they can be safe, healthy, educated, and strong to make a positive impact on their communities.

At USAID, we are committed to preparing girls for meaningful work, including entrepreneurship through education and skills-training. Globally, only 37 percent of young women participate in the labor force, compared to 54 percent of young men. In 2018, we led a whole-of-government effort to produce the U.S. Government Strategy on International Basic Education [PDF, 2.7MB], which emphasizes that workforce-development and skills-training for women and girls help pave the way for economic empowerment. USAID also recently announced the winners of the Young Women Transform Prize, which supports youth-led ideas to advance economic opportunities for young women in their communities. The Agency also revealed the successful applicants to the WomenConnect Challenge, which is seeking innovative solutions to bridge the gender digital divide for women and girls.

Empowering girls is a force for strengthening the global economy, and reducing gender disparities is equally critical to achieving U.S. national-security and foreign-policy objectives. USAID supports the most-vulnerable girls, including those in conflict-ridden countries, where adolescent girls are 90 percent more likely to be out of secondary school than their peers in other countries. In Pakistan, since 2015, USAID has helped enroll more than 580,000 girls in reading programs, and provided enrollment opportunities to girls affected by crisis and conflict. This program, as well as many others funded by USAID, supports the U.S. Government's efforts to protect the rights of women and girls as part of the President's U.S. National Security Strategy [PDF, 1.7MB].

The results of investing in girls are long-lasting and powerful. As a young woman, Madalo Samati of Malawi participated in a USAID-funded education program. Today, she is the executive director of a local organization that empowers rural communities to discuss and resolve pressing issues, particularly those affecting women and girls. In the journey to self-reliance, countries that elevate girls create strong communities and lasting change.

Last updated: June 17, 2020

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