Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Omar Lopez/Unsplash
Girls & Women

Every Girl Born in This German City on March 8 Got $2,500

Baby girls born in Dusseldorf, Germany, on March 8 this year received unusual birthday gifts courtesy of retail and wholesale company Metro: funds to start their own companies someday.

Every girl born in the city on International Women’s Day was given 2,000 euros (almost $2,500), invested in a fixed deposit account that she can withdraw from when she turns 18, according to a press release.

The funds are meant to bolster girls’ efforts to start their own businesses and were inspired by the findings of Metro’s “Own Business Study”, which found that only 12% of women who would like to start their own companies believe they ever will.

Take Action: Sign the petition calling on influential companies to support women-owned businesses.

The study surveyed 10,000 people in 10 different countries and found that nearly half of all women interviewed hoped to start their own businesses and earn the title of #GirlBoss someday. And while the fear of being underestimated and treated unfairly as female entrepreneurs may deter some from starting their own businesses, the study found that the main barrier to would-be female business owners is a lack of financial support.

"There are still too many barriers that keep women from realizing their business ideas,” Heiko Hutmacher, Chief Human Resources Officer at METRO AG, said in a statement. “This comes at a significant cost to the economic development.”

Empowering women to start their own businesses is not only crucial for economic development, but also key to closing the gender gap, moving toward gender equality, and ending poverty.

Read more: How the Humble Coffee Bean Is Helping Women Break Barriers All Over the World

“It is about more than entrepreneurship, even business, as empowering a woman in business means that she will gain financial stability and help address poverty," Wendy Diamond, an entrepreneur and the founder of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, told Forbes. "It will help her gain confidence, as a woman who runs a company might be less likely to allow men to make decisions for her."

While Metro’s 2,000 euro gift is unlikely to be enough to fund a business — even with the 2% annual interest rate that HypoVereinsbank has guaranteed gift recipients — it will give these girls a tiny head start and a bit of encouragement to follow their dreams.

Global Citizen campaigns in support of gender equality and women’s rights. You can take action here to help empower women around the world by calling on companies to support women-owned businesses.