By STUART ELLIOTT
FIFTEEN years ago, Nike made a splash with an advertising campaign known as “If you let me play.” The ads drew considerable attention — and praise — because they advocated the benefits for girls and young women of participating in sports.
Today, Nike’s foundation is taking to heart the concept of “girl power” that was embodied by the campaign, but now it is education, rather than sports, that is being celebrated for its transformative abilities. With an effort known as the Girl Effect, the Nike Foundation — supported by Nike and the NoVo Foundation — is trying to raise up adolescent girls in poverty-plagued, developing regions of the world.
Helping those girls to become better educated, the Girl Effect’s Web site asserts, helps them as well as “their families, their communities and their nations.”
Data on the site shows that positive changes can come in areas like health (the more schooling mothers get, the healthier their infants and children will be) and income (an additional year of secondary school will increase a girl’s wages by 15 to 25 percent).