I strongly back Plan's "Because I am a girl" project, having seen for myself on my visit to Ghana the hope and opportunity it offers girls in the developing world.
Plan is calling for a global 10-point action plan which includes providing girls with education, better jobs, access to land or property and leadership opportunities.
Failing to send girls to school is costing the world’s poorest countries billions of pounds a year.
No education means girls are confined to dangerous, unskilled work - neglecting their earning potential and slowing a country’s recovery from the current financial crisis.
The global economic downturn also means girls in the developing world are the first to lose their jobs, may end up in the sex trade and are more likely to die young.
As a result of the current crisis, in 2009 alone an estimated additional 50,000 African babies will die before their first birthday. Most of these will be girls.