Scandinavia – Top Nations for Girls

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Last October, Save the Children released the report ‘Every Last Girl’ for the International Day of the Girl Child

Advocacy organizations around the world have spotlighted girls’ issues, resulting in a report tanking the best and worst countries to live in as a girl. All Scandinavian countries are listed on the top six.

161116-every-last-girl-report-by-savethechildrenThe index used indicators such as child marriage rates, adolescent fertility, maternal mortality, number of women in parliament compared to men, and rate of lower-secondary school completion. “While there is much to celebrate, there is still a mountain to climb until we reach a world in which girls will have the same opportunities as boys,” wrote former Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt, now the CEO of Save the Children International, and Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children UK, in a press release.

Unsurprisingly, Sweden, Norway and Denmark emerged as the best places to be a girl, and Mali, Chad, and Niger ranked among the worst.

Some other developed nations such as the UK (15), Canada (19) and the United States (32) were pulled down the rankings by not having enough women represented in government.

The report also pointed out the US’s relatively high adolescent fertility and maternal mortality rates. Fourteen women died per 100,000 live births in the US in 2015; a similar number to Uruguay and Lebanon, and far higher than the three deaths per 100,000 in Poland, Greece and Finland,” the report stated.
“Given the indicators used in the index, we relied on the available data,” said a spokesperson for Save the Children, “and because of this, were unable to include some countries that did not have the data available.”

 former Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt, now the CEO of Save the Children International
former Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt, now the CEO of Save the Children International

Only 144 of the 196 countries in the world are represented in the report. Some of the countries absent have notable issues, such as Russia, which has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, and China, “where people kill baby girls like housework” according to CNN, and there are over 100,000 children abandoned every year. North Korea and Venezuela are also not included, and each is ruled by an oppressive dictator.

A Trokosi slave and her child in Ghana
A Trokosi slave and her child in Ghana

In addition to the Girls’ Opportunity Index, the report shows that there are 62 million girls currently not in school, 30 million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation in the next decade, 15 million girls under 18 likely to be married this year, and 2.5 million girls likely to give birth this year. Over a quarter of human trafficking victims are children, and 2.6 billion girls and women live in countries where marital rape is not explicitly criminalized.

Scandinavia – Top Nations for Girls, written by Tor Kjolberg

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