Listening to Adolescent Girls (Video and New Report)

Ed note: This week UN Dispatch and RH Realty Check are pleased to host a special series of blog posts on empowering adolescent girls in the developing world. We are calling the series “Girls Count,” which is the name of a series of reports from the Coalition for Adolescent Girls which seeks to elevate the profile of adolescent girls on the international development agenda and within strategies to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals”

By Yolanda Johnny Taylor,  Communications Director for the United Nations Foundation’s Women & Population program.

One of the most powerful forces of change on the planet is an adolescent girl.

Girls are part of the largest youth generation this world has ever seen.  The choices and opportunities that these girls have will not only impact their lives, but also their families, communities, and our entire world for generations to come.

Today, the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) released “Girls Speak: A New Voice in Global Development.” Girl Speak, the latest report in the Girls Count series commissioned by the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, allows us to hear directly from adolescent girls as they share their hopes, fears and dreams for the future.

And what do these girls teach us?

No matter where they are born, adolescent girls want the same things: they want to be educated; they want to be productive members of society; they want to be healthy; they want to be free from abuse and sexual violence; and they want to have ownership over their own lives and bodies. 

They want what we all want – the freedom to be who they are.

But these girls can’t do it alone. Families, teachers, mentors and communities are key elements in unleashing the girl effect. These girls already have the vision and the determination they need to thrive. They need our help in clearing the roadblocks that stand in the way of their success.

Below, you can watch the Nike Foundation’s “I Dare You” video and hear more about the power of girls. There are 600 million girls living in the developing world. That’s 600 million opportunities for our world to be reshaped for the better.

I dare YOU not to act. 

To learn more about you can do to help girls in developing countries, visit, ,, and




Girls Speak a New Voice in Global Development