I recently had the incredible opportunity to join Girl Up on a visit to the Gallup Organization’s headquarters where we met with Director of Gallup Government Jon Clifton. Clifton works closely with the World Poll, which is an ongoing study conducted in more than 150 countries, representing more than 98 percent of the world’s adult population.
Clifton is a leader in the movement to make sure girls are counted—which is one of the pillars for Girl Up! Though it is not often discussed, documentation is key in helping adolescent girls worldwide. Each year about 51 million children go unregistered and do not receive birth certificates when they are born.
When girls aren’t counted, they are much more vulnerable to child labor, child marriage, and human trafficking. But when girls are counted, they are empowered. Being counted puts girls on the radar for governments and organizations that work to ensure their education, safety, and health care.
Clifton and his colleague, Faith Nsubuga, shared with us results from a recent study that surveyed women and girls from 147 countries worldwide! He talked about where gender gaps still exist, where women are succeeding, and how Gallup measures hope. For example, Gallup found a major gap between women in the U.S. (51 percent) and women in sub-Saharan Africa (14 percent) who rated their lives well enough to be “thriving.” You can check out the detailed results here.
As I left Gallup, one thing was clear: when girls are counted, they are able to use their voice to influence their communities and stand up for their rights. It’s time to show the world that girls really do count, and you can play an important role in ensuring that this happens by giving a high five, starting a Girl Up club, or just spreading the word.