In other words, SERniña works toward a version of society in which girls have the same types of choices boys do — to decide what paths they'll take and how they’ll contribute to their families, communities, and country. To decide for themselves how they'll make the world a better place.
Second, SERniña recognizes that supporting progress and equality for girls and women isn't only a moral or ethical question; it's a practical one. Research and real-world analyses have shown over and over that when women do better, everyone does better. Investing in girls and women isn't a metaphor. It's a proven, measurable strategy to improve the well-being and livelihoods of people everywhere.
The Numbers Are Clear
- Research shows that children are 20% more likely to survive when their mothers are in charge of the family's finances. 
- The World Bank has found that girls earn 18% more money for every extra year of secondary school education than they would have without it. 
- Half of Guatemalan women are married by the age of 20, and 44 percent become mothers by the same age.  But girls who have seven or more years of education end up postponing marriage by four years and having two fewer children. 
- Overall, the World Bank has seen that "better-educated women tend to be healthier, participate more in the formal labor market, earn more, give birth to fewer children, marry at a later age, and provide better health care and education to their children." 
- On average, working women put 90% of the money they earn back into their families to provide "food, health care, home improvement, and schooling for themselves and their children," creating an 'upward spiral' of success.  Men, in comparison, usually reinvest about 35% of their earnings. 
- The McKinsey Global Institute calculates that if women's economic participation were equal to men's, the global GDP would rise $28 trillion in 10 years — about as much as the economies of the US and China combined. 
- If Guatemalan women had equal economic participation, in 10 years the Guatemalan GDP would grow by 46%, or $40 billion, or $2,460 per person.  In a country with an average per capita income of $4,060, that's a big deal. 
- If Guatemala even closed its economic gender gap at the same rate as its most-equal neighbor in Latin America (Chile), the economy would grow by $8 billion in 10 years  — and as we've seen, women pay those gains forward by reinvesting in their families.
Social Equality Comes First
The link is clear. MGI found that "virtually no countries with high gender equality in society [have] low gender equality in work." In other words, when countries develop gender parity in society, they can expect to see the associated economic rewards. MGI therefore identified multiple types of interventions that can build economically and socially gender-equal societies. That's where SERniña and organizations like it come in.
Invest in girls today with a one-time or sustaining donation to SERniña.
Next month, learn why Guatemala needs organizations like SERniña.
All websites accessed May 15, 2019.
1. United Nations. Universal declaration of human rights. https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
2. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Investing in women and girls: The breakthrough strategy for achieving all the MDGs. June 2010. http://www.oecd.org/social/gender-development/45704694.pdf
3. Yong Kim, Jim. To build a brighter future, invest in women and girls. World Bank Blogs: Voices. March 8, 2018. https://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/build-brighter-future-invest-women-and-girls
4. Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Why is Guatemala's teen pregnancy rate so high? June 17, 2015. http://www.coha.org/why-is-guatemalas-teen-pregnancy-rate-so-high/
5. USAID. Why invest in women? https://www.usaid.gov/infographics/50th/why-invest-in-women
6. World Economic Forum. Why women make the best tech investments. January 20, 2014. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2014/01/women-technology-world-economy/
7. Clinton Global Initiative. Empowering girls & women. https://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/phlntrpy/notes/clinton.pdf
8. McKinsey Global Institute. The power of parity: How advancing women's equality can add $12 trillion to global growth — Executive summary. April 2016. https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/employment-and-growth/the-power-of-parity-advancing-womens-equality-in-the-united-states
9. Council on Foreign Relations. Growing economies through gender parity. 2019. https://www.cfr.org/interactive/womens-participation-in-global-economy/
10. World Bank Group. Data: Guatemala. 2019. https://data.worldbank.org/country/guatemala