Statement by USAID Administrator Gayle Smith on International Day of the Girl Child

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
USAID Press Office
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: | Twitter: @USAIDPress

"Today, on International Day of the Girl Child, we celebrate girls' unique contributions to our societies and reflect on the challenges they continue to face around the world. 

This year's theme - Girls' Progress = Goals' Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement - reminds us that gathering gender-sensitive data is critical to achieving gender equality. That means it's critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, too. For example, Feed the Future's Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index - the first-ever tool to measure women's empowerment and inclusion levels in the agricultural sector - is helping us better understand gender dynamics within households and communities. And we're using that information to adapt to local conditions and improve our programs. With the right data, we can provide better analysis, make more informed decisions, and get closer to bridging gender gaps in all regions of the world and in many different sectors.

Through the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls and the Let Girls Learn initiative, we are working with other U.S. government agencies to ensure that adolescent girls have the tools they need to grow and thrive - including an education. We know that when girls are educated, they are able to build better futures for themselves, and for their families, communities, and countries. Countries where more girls are enrolled in secondary school have lower infant mortality rates, lower birth rates, lower rates of HIV/AIDS, and better child nutrition. And when women are educated, households are more likely to escape poverty - without falling back in. Simply put, a country's development depends on the empowerment of women and girls.

Together, we can build a world where all girls are afforded the rights and respect they deserve, where they have the tools they need to succeed, and where all families, communities, and countries can witness the transformative impact of an empowered girl."