On Beyond 5.org we focus on the things that will help give mothers the best chance and improve the likelihood that their children will survive past the age of five. One key piece of this equation that is not often talked about is girls.

When girls receive a primary school education and eventually become mothers, the mortality rate for their children under five is halved. Each additional year of schooling for girls reduces infant mortality for their children by up to 10 percent. As mothers they provide better nutrition and health care and spend more on their children: girls and women spend 90 percent of their earned income on their families, while men only spend 30-40 percent.

Healthy moms and babies are at the heart of Beyond 5, but to accomplish our goals across generations, we have to start with girls.

The United Nations has declared October 11 the International Day of the Girl. Girls face unique challenges in the world, but by giving them the same rights and opportunities as their brothers, they can help fulfill the dream of seeing all children live beyond the age of five.

To celebrate International Day of the Girl Child, we will be featuring stories about girls each Thursday in October.

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