Girls rights around the world vary but one thing is clear, all countries need to improve. The countries this article is about are Sudan, the United Kingdom, India, Brazil, and Canada.
Sudan, Sudan is a very bad country to be a girl because they have a huge child bride problem. Every year around 15 million girls under the age of 18 are married in Sudan. 12% of girls in Sudan marry before 15. Child marriage is a problem because usually, the girl does not continue her education and usually has a child at a young age. The risk for maternal death in Sudan is 1 in 31, for every 100,000 births their is 730 maternal deaths so many girls die at a young age. In Sudan girls can legally marry at age 10 with their parent's approval, child brides usually come from poverty and their parents see it as a way to get out of that life but they usually continue to stay in poverty. At school, many girls face violence and sexual harassment or assault.
The United Kingdom, in the UK 10 incidents of sexual harassment or assault happen at school per day. This can affect the girl’s confidence and success in school. 22% of girls reported some sort of sexual assault or harassment at school but keep in mind a lot of these incidents go unreported. The worst place to be a girl is Middlesbrough while Waverly, Surrey is the best place to be a girl. Over half of girls think their peers struggle with positive body image because they feel so much pressure to look like the woman and girls they see in magazines. 20% of girls in the UK cited their bodies as their main source of worry. So while the UK is not as bad as Sudan they still have plenty of work to do.
India, there are over 50 million girls missing in India. India is home to more than ⅓ of the worlds child brides. Like Sudan, India has a serious child bride problem as 6 million children are born to girls annually. This creates a circle of poverty because the child brides are already in poverty the child born to her will be poor and they will likely become a child bride to try and escape that life. Child marriage also kills a lot of girls because complications in childbirth and pregnancy are the number one cause of death for 15-19 year olds. Also just existing as a girl in India is dangerous because 7000 girls are killed before or after birth through abortions or infanticide. As you can see India is just as bad as Sudan.
Brazil, In Brazil almost a third of Brazilian girls said they suffered from threats to beatings to attempted murder. This is alarming because if ⅓ of girls suffer from attempted murder think about how many have been murdered. Like a lot of developing countries, Brazil has a child bride problem as 36 % of girls are married before age 18. They also have a serious education problem especially for girls because 1.5 million girls are denied education. This is a problem because if girls aren’t educated they won’t be smart enough to get good jobs and get out of a life that they suffer constantly from. Brazil needs to work harder for girls rights because they still have no laws against sexual harassment at schools and in public places.
Canada, When I began researching Canada I was surprised because I thought that they would have more positive than negative facts about girls rights but they still have a lot of work to do. In Canada 1 in 2 girls said that gender stereotypes often or always affect girls career path decisions this is problematic because if gender stereotypes are affecting girls career decisions this could permanently affect girls lives. Also, only 7% of girls said they feel their voice is valued.
While lots of girls in Canada have access to school half of girls don’t feel safe at school. Girls in Canada also struggle with body image as 30% of girls said they struggle with positive body image. 39% of girls said they rarely or never feel safe from sexual harassment.
So while the world may be moving in a positive direction on girls rights we all still have plenty of work to do.
Story by Madeline Peeples
Sources: Sudan, Sudan, The UK, The UK, India, India, Brazil, Canada Image