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The Stark Reality of Girls

A young girl in Cameroon walks to school.
A young girl in Cameroon walks to school.
August 20, 2014
How are gender roles perceived by adolescents across the world?

Plan International spoke directly with 7,179 adolescent girls and boys (aged 12-16) in 11 countries across four regions.

The 11 countries involved in the study are:

  • Bangladesh and Pakistan (Asia)
  • Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay (Central and South America)
  • Egypt, Uganda, Zimbabwe (Eastern and Southern Africa)
  • Benin, Cameroon, Liberia (West Africa)

The purpose of the study was to help girls, communities, and Plan to understand the key issues that adolescent girls face today – in their own words.

The study – titled “Hear Our Voices” – revealed a stark reality:

  1. Just five percent of the girls in Asia said girls and boys always share household work equally.
  2. Only one third of girls and boys reported sharing the same burden of chores at school. In most cases, the burden lies on the girls.
  3. 30 percent of the girls in West Africa said that they never or seldom feel as safe as boys on their way to school.
  4. Almost 60 percent of the girls in Central and South America did not complete at least nine years of school.
  5. A third of girls reported that they never speak up and say what they think around boys.
  6. Only 26 percent of the girls said that they always decide if they marry.
  7. Over a third of girls said they never decide if they become pregnant.
  8. 49 percent of girls say they always participate in class as much as boys.
  9. 25 percent of the girls reported that they never feel comfortable using school latrines.

Plan International is working to change this reality. The Because I am a Girl initiative seeks to reach out to the most marginalized and vulnerable girls around the world, rigorously measuring our impact every step of the way.

For more information, you can download the complete technical report here.

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