Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan argues that:
"There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, or to reduce infant and maternal mortality. No other policy is as sure to improve nutrition and promote health -- including the prevention of HIV/AIDS. No other policy is as powerful in increasing the chances of education for the next generation. And I would also venture that no policy is more important in preventing conflict, or in achieving reconciliation after a conflict has ended."
The return on a country's investment in its women is enormous. Investment in girls' education, especially secondary education, yields high returns in the form of increased wages. Greater access to credit and other financial services increases women's mobility and increases household consumption. Women in employment also enjoy greater status in their family and community, contributing to their overall empowerment.