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Investing in girls for India’s future

Shadhika means “a girl with aspirations” in Bengali.  Founded in 1992, Shadhika (SHAH-dee-kah) is a US based 501c3 non-profit organization (EIN# 77-0344785) devoted to addressing gender inequality and breaking the cycle of poverty in India by investing in the education, empowerment, and economic self-sufficiency of girls. Shadhika accomplishes this by:

  • Pooling resources among donors in the US and around the world who are interested in investing in women-led locally based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India that are focused on the education, empowerment, and economic self-sufficiency of at-risk girls and working with boys to combat gender violence.
  • Awarding grants to NGOs who are working directly with at-risk girls and local communities in these program areas.
  • Providing oversight and building the capacity of grantees through regular site visits to ensure accountability and to help them increase their impact.
  • Acting in coalition with other funders and non-profits in India and globally to eliminate gender inequality and empower girls.


Why girls?

Addressing gender inequality and ensuring girls  — in particular at-risk girls – have equal access to opportunities is not just a social justice issue, but also an economic, health, and political issue. Investing in better outcomes for girls not only helps to lift them out of poverty, but has been shown to have a profound ripple effect on their families, their communities, their countries, and, ultimately, our world. Studies have shown that:

  • An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ future wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent. (World Bank, 2002)
  • When 10 percent more of its girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases by an average of 3 percent. (Council on Foreign Relations)
  • Girls who receive 7 years of schooling have 2.2 fewer children. (United Nations Population Fund)
  • Girls with secondary education are 70% less likely to marry before 18. (United Nations Population Fund)
  • Girls who are educated are 50% more likely to immunize their future children. And when more girls are educated, a country’s malnutrition and HIV rates decline. (UNGEI, the Council on Foreign Relations)
  • When women are educated and empowered, democracy is more likely to flourish and the conditions that promote extremism are reduced. (World Politics)

Why India?

Though India is the world’s largest democracy, it was ranked 101st out of 136 nations for gender equality in a 2013 report by the World Economic Forum and is the lowest ranked nation for gender equality among the G20 nations.

Because of its unique position in the developing world, addressing gender inequality in India would have profound ripple effects on the outcomes of girls globally, setting a new standard for the better treatment of girls among other developing nations.