BLOG: Girls’ Economic Empowerment, July 2016

Plan International

Girls and young women make up the majority of the world's 628 million unemployed young people who have neither an education nor vocational training.

Barriers caused by gender inequality and discrimination are preventing girls from going to school and getting the skills they need to access decent work and break out of poverty.

Not only is this unjust, it is a huge waste of potential.

In developing countries, girls’ jobs are often vulnerable, informal and unprotected. Girls are more likely to be paid lower wages - if they are paid at all - and the first to lose their jobs. At current rates, the World Economic Forum estimates that it will take over a century to close the gender pay gap.

Most of the work girls and young women carry out is unseen and undervalued. They perform the majority of care and domestic work, doubling or even tripling the length of their working day.

Girls also face unique barriers to benefiting from the digital economy and are 5 times less likely than boys to even consider a career related to technology.


Investing in girls’ economic empowerment is essential to achieving gender equality and helping girls to reach their potential. Enabling them to learn, lead, decide and thrive can transform lives, communities and entire countries.

Each extra year of secondary education boosts a girl’s wages by 10-20%. Research shows that young women put back 90% of their income into their household, but men only give back 30-40%. By directing the money they earn back into the household, girls help their whole families to stay healthy, secure and educated.


Our economic security programmes increase opportunities for young women and men by supporting their transition into decent work through vocational and business training, as well as helping them to build skills for life in areas such as leadership and digital literacy.

We challenge perceptions of what is ‘acceptable’ for girls to do and support youth and women-friendly work environments.

We also promote savings and access to financial services and bank literacy training so that participants can help start businesses and look after their families.

Join the Because I am a Girl movement

Originally published by: Plan International