Adolescent girls aren’t just “Future Women”. They’re girls, and they deserve their own category.

If you’re not familiar with The Girl Effect, it’s a movement to empower girls in developing countries to actually live the life of a girl. A girl who goes to school. A girl who waits until she is ready to be married and have babies. A girl who takes control of her own life.

Being the youngest of five children, I can remember being so excited to experience the life stages I saw my older siblings experiencing. I remember watching my beautiful oldest sister getting ready for dates in high school and wishing I was old enough to wear shoulder pads and high heels. I remember my brothers bringing over their prom dates wearing puffy teal and light pink dresses with color-coordinating shoes. I wondered if my future date to the prom would be as perfect as my two brothers. I had such a great childhood, and I looked forward to the future because I knew my future was up to me. I was a girl for a lot of years. I only became a woman when I was ready.

  • One in seven girls in developing countries marries before the age of 15.

  • One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before the age of 18

  •  14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.

  • Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide.

What was I doing from ages 15-18? I was in school. I was playing sports. I was healthy. I was applying to colleges. It was finally my turn to go to prom and wear the high heels. (Thankfully shoulder pads had gone out of style by that point.) What were you doing at age 15?

Check out how you can get involved here, here, and here.

Support the 2011 Girl Effect Blogging Campaign by writing your own blog post during the week of October 4-11.