Girls Speak: A New Voice in Global Development

The first view of poverty from the perspective of girls.

The global development community is just beginning to grasp the complex social, health and economic challenges facing adolescent girls. This report compiles the first view of poverty from the perspective of girls. Hearing directly from them, in their own words, provides unique insight into, and understanding of, their issues. 

Together their voices reinforce what the data suggests: education, safety, economic opportunity - and delaying marriage and childbirth - are vital to fulfilling their potential. Bright, hopeful and eager for change, these girls are an inspiration.

Girls Speak forms part of the Girls Count series, produced by the Coalition for Adolescent Girls. Other titles include: New Lessons: The Power of Educating Adolescent GirlsStart with a Girl: A New Agenda for Global HealthGirls Grow: A Vital Force in Rural Economies and the original report, Girls Count: A Global Investment and Action Agenda.


"Adolescent girls in poor countries play pivotal - but often overlooked - roles in their families and communities. Each day they cook, clean, fetch water, do agricultural work, and care for children and the elderly, which frees up time for other family members to work and earn money. But providing these services comes at huge cost to the girls themselves - and to their families and eventually to future generations - because denying opportunities to girls prevents them from reaching their full potential."

Authored by:

Margaret Greene, Laura Cardinal and Eve Goldstein-Siegel