Fab Female Friday: Maria Eitel

Nike Foundation president Maria Eitel visited northern Ethiopia in 2012 and met with participants in a program dedicated to ending child marriage
(Photo: Nike Foundation)

“The clock is ticking,” according to The Girl Effect, and no one knows that more than Maria Eitel.

As founding President and CEO of the Nike Foundation, the organization behind The Girl Effect, Eitel understands the need to focus attention on the girls of the world. As time moves forward in an impoverished girl’s life, she has a greater chance of falling through the cracks ─ being married by the age of 14, pregnant by 15, and risking death from childbirth and sex trafficking. Unless she receives an education, that is, which Eitel and the Nike Foundation recognize as a turning point for a girl to improve her life and her community.

With Eitel at the helm, the Nike Foundation has taken an innovative approach to fighting poverty: to combat it before it begins. Before the Girl Effect campaign got off the ground, Eitel asked the question, “What if we looked at everything through the lens of the girl herself?” And that’s exactly what the Nike Foundation team did, traveling to more than 30 countries and spending “tens of thousands of hours” working with girls to understand their needs, she said in a speech recorded by The Guardian.

Eitel taps into the power of girls to transform the world from the inside out. And that’s why she is our Fab Female this Friday.


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