Girls Grow: A Vital Force in Rural Economics

A Girls Count Report on Adolescent Girls

Authored by: Catherine Bertini

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Economic Participation, Economic Recovery, Human Development, Political Transitions, Sexual and Reproductive Health
Region: No Region
Year: 2011
Citation: Bertini, Catherine. Girls Grow: A Vital Force in Rural Economics. Chicago: Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 2011.

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Executive Summary

Women and girls living in rural areas of the developing world play a vital yet unrecognized role as agricultural producers and hold the potential to be agents of food and nutritional security and economic growth. In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where a significant portion of Gross Domestic Product is dependent on agriculture, women and girls living in rural areas comprise nearly half of the region’s total agricultural workers. However, less than 10 percent of the total official development assistance for agriculture explicitly addresses gender issues, and only 33 percent of girls in rural areas of the developing world attend primary school. As the international community renews its focus on the importance of agriculture and rural economic development, the success of its efforts will be significantly enhanced if it includes a major emphasis on rural adolescent girls. The study’s conclusions and recommendations advanced in this report highlight ways for national governments and bilateral donors to better support rural adolescent girls’ personal and professional development, health and safety, and in turn, to spur long-term economic growth and social stability at the community, national, and regional levels.