What if Your Daughter/Niece/Sister was Forced to Marry at 10?








Sitting on the couch last night next to my daughter, Lilly, I was moved to tears – as I often am these days (senior year, enough said) by this young woman.

Her kindness. Her focus and resolve. Her silly dances. Her wholeness. Her stunning and complete Lilliness.

Then I thought,

What if she had been forced to marry at 11?

What if she had 3 children by now (she’s 17)?

What if her husband beat her?

What if he had given her AIDS?

What if there was nothing I could do to stop any of this?

I don’t have to witness my daughter suffering this life but a hundred million+ mothers do.

They watch their girls’ lights, their brilliance, be snuffed out.

Their girls never get a chance to be their stunning and complete selves.

In the personal development world we talk so much about letting our light shine, about expressing our gifts, our brilliance.

How about these girls? What about their light?

Can you help one of them, just one, to have a chance to shine her light?

  • When a girl in the developing world receives seven+ years of education, she marries 4 years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
  • Each extra year of primary school boosts girls’ wages by 10 to 20 percent. That’s can be the difference between starvation and health for many women and their children.
  • When women and girls earn money, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

What can you do today?

Take 3 minutes and watch one of these videos with girls you love.

Then ask your girl team what they want to do to educate a girl?

  • Gluten-free sugar-free bake sale? (hee hee)
  • Pet wash?
  • Show a Girl Effect video in their classroom and brainstorm with other kids what action to take? Excellent Girl Effect event guide here.

Create a community of girls and savor saving a girl’s light. Plus it will be so fun!



P.S. Want to make a donation directly to Girl Effect right now? Go here.

P.P.P.S. As you have read this post, 20 girls became child brides. Let’s see if we can slow that number down, shall we?


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Tara Sophia Mohr - October 4, 2011

Thank you Jen. I’m really struck this year by how many bloggers have looked at their own life experience, or their daughters’ life experiences, differently because of learning about life for girls in the developing world. There’s something really important happening, I think, when we say, what if my daughter had been one of those girls? What if I had been one of those girls? I think that “what if?” becomes huge fuel for action.
Love & hugs,

Anonymous - October 4, 2011

All right, Jen – you did it. You brought the globe home for me. I love Tara and everything she touches, but it was your question and my precious Ganesha-dancing two-year-old little girl in the other room that got my attention. I’m a bulldog guard dog for my little girl and my wife. Why can’t I translate that energy globally? I’ve checked out Tara’s project and am wondering what I can post. Thanks – and what a lucky girl Lilly is.


    jenniferlouden - October 5, 2011

    so happy to spark your creative bulldog guard dog!!

Marianne - October 5, 2011

We can. And together we will. I’m on your girl team. 

    jenniferlouden - October 5, 2011

    I’m on yours!!!

Anne Samoilov - October 5, 2011

Jen, I totally connected with your post this morning. My daughter is only 3 but I asked myself the same questions about her yesterday morning…and even showed her one of the girls videos on the girl effect site.  It was so heart-breaking and at the same time beautiful to watch her say, “she can’t go to school?” School to her is a wondrous place and she can’t imagine why someone would say you can’t go.  I hope that her sensitivity and grace endures and I know I’m so lucky that I don’t have to watch her light go out like the millions of other moms do in poverty stricken countries.  

I was also wrote a post yesterday for the Girl Effect organization and am so honored to be part of it with you.

Anne Samoilov

    jenniferlouden - October 5, 2011

    that is so wonderful Anne, looking forward to reading your post!

10.5.11 The Girl Effect One Spoon at a Time | three highlights - October 5, 2011

[…] and their circumstances. That focus started in part because of two women – Tara Mohr and Jen Louden. Tara, for her project and gumption. Jen, for her daughter and […]

Hillary Rubin - October 5, 2011

Love this post. I don’t have kids yet Jen and totally could feel your love for your sweet girl. Love your ideas here especially the gluten free bake sale. If any of your readers make a donation and send me their receipt to info@hillaryrubin.com I have a few more Kickstart programs I am giving away. Thanks for being a driving force of light behind this cause. It’s an honor to share this mission with you. xo Hillary 

Tara Sophia Mohr | wise living » 12 Amazing Girl Effect Moments - October 6, 2011

[…] shine, about expressing our gifts, our brilliance. How about these girls? What about their light? -Jennifer Louden […]

CMurdock2003 - October 10, 2011


I am so glad to see you blogging about the Girl Effect. Did you know that there
are young girls and women all over the world who are unable to care for
themselves during their periods? They resort to things like newspaper, leaves,
ashes, or old mattress stuffing or they stay isolated for several days EVERY
month! How long could you keep up in school if you missed one week out of every
month? Right, many drop out never finishing the education that could help them
better their situation. I work with a special organization called Days for
Girls International (www.daysforgirls.org). We provide feminine hygiene kits to non-profit
organizations for distribution to schools, orphanages, and villages in
developing countries. Please check out our website to see what you and your
readers can do to help. Or drop in on our Facebook page to catch the action at http://www.Facebook.com/DaysforGirls. This
is an amazing work. It takes so little of the resources we have to make a big
difference in the life of a girl in need.


Cindy Murdock

Days for Girls International

Northern New Mexico

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