Research News

UW's Moeller examines, ‘The Transnational Politics of Poverty in “The Girl Effect” ’

November 19, 2014

UW-Madison’s Kathryn Moeller recently had an article published in the latest edition of the journal Feminist Studies.

The paper is titled, “Searching for Adolescent Girls in Brazil: The Transnational Politics of Poverty in ‘The Girl Effect.’ ”

Kathryn Moeller
Moeller says the article analyzes how the category of “adolescent girl” is constructed through the Girl Effect, the corporate philanthropic brand of Nike, Inc., and its charitable arm, the Nike Foundation.  The Girl Effect takes an instrumental approach, branding poor, racialized adolescent girls in the Global South as a means to development rather than as ends in and of themselves. Poised between childhood and womanhood, where, it is assumed, they will be responsible for the well-being of families and communities, these adolescent girls are portrayed as holding the “unique potential,” or what she identifies as an imagined Third World potential, to end global poverty. Through an ethnographic study of the Nike Foundation’s relationship with a nongovernmental organization in Brazil, her article explores how the category is imagined and institutionalized by a Nike Foundation grantee organization in Brazil and, in doing so, illuminates the development discourse of the brand and its consequences.

Moeller is an assistant professor with the Department of Educational Policy Studies whose interdisciplinary scholarship is situated at the intersection of education, globalization and development studies, feminist studies, and cultural anthropology. She is also affiliated with the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.