These Are The Best & Worst Countries For Girls

Photo: Guilhem Alandry/Doculab.
Being a girl isn't easy. But there are parts of the world where issues such as child marriage, gender-based violence, and poor access to sexual and reproductive health services make it even more difficult — and often downright dangerous — for girls to grow and prosper.

A new report by Save The Children
, published in advance of the International Day of the Girl Child, identifies Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Mali, and Somalia as the worst countries for girls today. Adolescent pregnancy and child marriage rank high on the list of reasons for the countries' low rankings. Child marriage remains a major issue worldwide. A girl under the age of 15 is forced to marry every seven seconds, a release from Save the Children said. In all, an estimated 15 million girls are married before they turn 18 each year. And it's not just marriage preventing girls from reaching their potential. Every year 2.5 million girls under the age of 16 become mothers, the report found. Even in developing countries, about 19% of girls become pregnant before they're 18, and 3% before age 15. And maternal mortality is the "second leading cause of death" for teenage girls between the ages of 15 and 19, according to the report.
The countries that ranked best for girls and teens include Sweden, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Despite having the world's biggest economy, the United States ranks No. 32, right below Algeria and Kazakhstan. That's because, compared to other developed countries, the U.S. has fewer female representatives in national government, and higher teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality rates.

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