Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Revealed: the best and worst places in the world to be a girl


A new index reveals the best and worst places in the world to be a girl - and the UK doesn't make the top 10.

Sweden ranks best for girls out of 144 countries, based on rates of child marriage, schooling, teen pregnancy, maternal deaths and the percentage of female MPs. 

The UK comes in at number 15 behind Denmark, Norway, Slovenia and Italy, while Niger ranks bottom in the index, compiled by Save The Children.

Britain’s position reflects low female representation in parliament and a teen pregnancy rate of 15.3 per 1,000 births.

Save The Children released its report, based on 2015 figures, on the International Day of the Girl (11 October) to highlight the extent of child marriage across the world.

One girl under 15 is married every seven seconds, according to the analysis, with girls as young as 10 forced to marry men in countries including Afghanistan, Yemen, India and Somalia.

Child marriage isn’t just a form of discrimination, it’s a form of violence.

 - Save The Children CEO Kevin Watkins.

“Forcing girls to marry much older men robs them of their freedom and amounts to sexual slavery,” Watkins says. “Instead of being in school, married girls face domestic violence, abuse and rape. They fall pregnant and are exposed to STIs including HIV. Bearing children before their bodies are ready means girls suffer complicated deliveries and even death.”

Save the Children's Every Last Girl report findings at a glance:

  • Girls from poor families are more likely to be married early than their richer peers
  • In Nigeria, 40% of the poorest girls are married by 15 compared to 3% of the richest
  • India has the highest number of child marriages, partly owing to its large population, with 47% of girls married under 18 - around 24.6 million
  • One girl under 15 is married every seven seconds
  • More than 700 million women in the world are married before their 18th birthday
  • During the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, schools shutting down led to an estimated 14,000 teen pregnancies
  • Most countries are struggling to achieve gender parity among MPs, regardless of how rich they are
  • Rwanda tops the table with 64% female MPs followed by Bolivia and Cuba
  • In the US, only 19% of Members of Congress are women and only 29% of MPs in the UK are women


illustrations 1.JPG

Brilliant illustrations perfectly capture life as a millennial woman


“Locker room talk” is not an excuse says Trump victim Nancy O'Dell


One woman's uplifting mission to transform elderly neighbour's life


The deadly secret hidden within that creepy Game of Thrones hug

Spoilers are coming…

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

Why it’s totally fine if you don’t have a ‘work wife’

Having friends at work is nice – but it’s not the be all and end all

by Moya Crockett
18 Aug 2017

Meteorologist’s epic response to troll who called her “disgusting”

“Enough is enough.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
18 Aug 2017

Acts of love, humanity and solidarity following the Barcelona attack

In the darkness, there is light.

by Moya Crockett
18 Aug 2017

How you can help those caught up in the Barcelona attack

The ways you can support the victims, survivors and investigation

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

People are furious about Trump’s response to the Barcelona attack

The world is sick of his double-standard on terrorism

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

Ryan Phillipe on how he tackles depression

“I’m thinking about how to focus and steady myself”

by Susan Devaney
17 Aug 2017

Are black girls being forced to grow up too fast?

A study has shown that black girls as young as five are seen as more adult than their white peers

by Kemi Alemoru
17 Aug 2017

Teen receives sickening messages after asking for career advice

This businessman's response was shocking

by Sarah Biddlecombe
17 Aug 2017

We want everything from this new high-street Disney collaboration

Seriously magical

by Megan Murray
17 Aug 2017