Plan International: One hundred million girls are missing, millions more face life of discrimination Print E-mail

May 15 2007

New report exposes girls' rights abuses

Millions of girls are being condemned to a life of inequality and poverty according to a new report from Plan.

’Because I am a Girl: The State of the World's Girls’, highlights the appalling situation in which girls find themselves - sometimes through poverty, sometimes because they are young but often simply because of their gender.

The report is the first in a series of global reports on girls to be published over the next nine years by Plan. Timed to be released on the United Nation's International Day of the Family, ‘Because I am a Girl’ raises awareness of the threats and broken promises that blight the lives of millions of girls.

The report presents global statistics highlighting the scale of the problem. For example:

  • 62 million primary school-aged girls are not in education
  • childhood malnutrition has led to stunted growth in an estimated 450 million women
  • more young girls aged 15 to 19 years die from unsafe abortions and birth complications than from any other cause
  • over 100 million girls, some as young as 12, are expected to marry over the next decade despite international legislation outlawing early marriages

Morally indefensible
“This study shows our failure to make an equal, more just world has resulted in the most intolerable of situations,” explains Graça Machel, a leading ambassador for child rights with her husband, former President Nelson Mandela.

“To discriminate on the basis of gender is morally indefensible, and economically, politically and socially unsupportable.”

‘Because I am a Girl’ warns that the Millennium Development Goals, due to be reviewed by the United Nations in two months, are unachievable without a global commitment to enforcing international laws that protect girls’ rights.

Included in the report is an eight-point action plan listing straight-forward steps to which every global citizen, organisation and government can contribute to improve girls’ lives. By doing so, we can support a better future, not only for them but for the world as a whole.

“Gender equality can’t be reached overnight. It’s a massive goal that everyone needs to agree to…people just need to get off their behinds and do something about it.” Alia, aged 17

Download 'Because I am a Girl' (PDF, 4Mb) HERE

Visit Plan UK's 'Because I am a Girl' campaign microsite HERE