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FACTBOX-Challenges facing girls in developing countries

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Mon, 19 Dec 2011 17:35 GMT
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NEW YORK (TrustLaw) - According to Plan International, investing in girls’ health and education yields higher returns at the family, local and national levels than any other form of investment.

Research indicates that when girls have the opportunity to remain in school and to earn a livelihood they are more likely than boys to use their income to improve the welfare of their family and communities and break the cycle of poverty.

But, in many countries, girls continue to be undervalued and to encounter gender-based violence and discrimination.

Girls in developing nations face a number of major challenges, including:

* They are three times more likely to be malnourished because they are the last to be fed

* They are more likely to die before the age of five

* They are less likely than boys to go to school: Worldwide, there are 75 million girls out of primary and lower-secondary school

* They are more likely than boys to be infected with HIV as the result of early marriage to, or sex with, older men

* They are more likely than boys to be exploited, abused, trafficked, sold or coerced into the sex trade

* The leading cause of death among teenage girls is complications from pregnancy

* Girls are much more likely than boys to grow up poor. Of the 1.5 billion people living on less than US$1 dollar a day, 70 percent are female

Source: Plan International

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