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"I matter and so does she:" girl power, (post)feminism and the girl effect

Koffman, Ofra and Gill, Rosalind (2014) "I matter and so does she:" girl power, (post)feminism and the girl effect. In: Buckingham, David, Bragg, Sarah and Kehily, Mary Jane, (eds.) Youth Cultures in the Age of Global Media. Studies in childhood and youth. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, pp. 242-257. ISBN 9781137008145

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Identification Number: 10.1057/9781137008152


This chapter looks critically at the ‘Girl Effect’, a new trend in global development policy and practice that involves a focus on and address to young women. The idea of the Girl Effect was coined by the corporate giant Nike in the mid-noughties, and had at its heart a bold claim: that girls hold the key to ending world poverty and transforming health and life expectancy in the developing world. It was proposed that a radical new approach was needed to problems of poverty and ill health that seemed intractable, foregrounding the simple injunction to ‘invest in a girl and she’ll do the rest’. The notion of the Girl Effect has fast become a prominent feature of global development discourse and practice, representing a shift in which key organizations (including the UN and the WHO) change their investment strategies in order to target girls in developing countries. However, the significance of the Girl Effect does not end here. It also constitutes a marked shift in the neoliberalization of development, an explicit attempt to mobilize a notion of girls as ‘agents’ rather than victims (Wilson, 2011), and a clear example of the ‘feminization of responsibility’ (Chant, 2006). Moreover, it represents a new and distinctive form of address to girls in the global North and West. Via an extensive range of social media campaigns, ‘roadshows’ and merchandising promotions, girls in affluent societies, particularly the United States, are hailed variously as the allies and saviours of their Southern ‘sisters’, using discourses of girl power and popular feminism.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Authors
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2014 10:23
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2024 17:30

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