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Help or Not - Series 2: Anna Carella’s Criticism of The Girl Effect
The SISGI Group (2011)
  • Ufuoma Barbara Akpotaire, Columbia University

In 2008, the Nike Foundation came out with an initiative called the “Girl Effect.” My thoughts at that time was that this initiative was a remarkable phenomenon. It had a catchy video which I have attached below to give you an idea about the initiative, and at the World Economic Forum in 2009, the Girl Effect was the 4th most popular session.

I came across an article on Aidwatch titled “So now we have to save ourselves and the world too? A critique of the girl effect“. That title did not sit well with me. I wondered how anyone could criticize such an initiative and how much research the writer had done to back up her criticisms. The writer’s criticisms were based on four factors (some parts of which I have reproduced below).

The writer points to some evidence of increases in domestic violence by women who have been recipients of micro-loans, and how men may feel threatened by the singular focus on women. I must state that I disagree with this line of thinking. It is quite possible that there might actually have been such an increase but the fact that domestic violence exists (on both sides) is certainly not caused by initiatives like this. Granted such initiatives empower women but if we apply the writers logic i.e. empowerment leads to abuse, then each time a lady gets drunk at a bar and is raped, should we blame the victim on the grounds that she went to the bar? In addition, the fact that some men may feel threatened by the focus on women, should not lead the writer to conclude that the initiative is a bad idea.

The writer also states “…the girl effect has nothing to say about domestic violence, rape, the wage gap, or …other systemic problems…gender discrimination in poor countries“. Again, I disagree with the writer on this statement. A cursory look ...

  • Band-Aid approaches,
  • best practices,
  • Charitable Work,
  • Good Work,
  • International Aid,
  • Poverty,
  • The girl effect
Publication Date
Spring April 8, 2011
Citation Information
Ufuoma Barbara Akpotaire. "Help or Not - Series 2: Anna Carella’s Criticism of The Girl Effect" The SISGI Group (2011)
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