Portugal has girl power

studentsgraduationPortugal has been placed in the very top league as one of the best countries in the world for girls.

A new global report from the Save the Children listed Portugal in eighth place out of the 144 nations scrutinised.  

Sweden, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium took the top five places.

The study ranked world countries using five indicators: child marriage, adolescent fertility, maternal mortality which links to health care, the proportion of female to male parliamentarians and completion of secondary education.

Belgium, Slovenia, Portugal, Switzerland and Italy rounded out the top ten.

Although not much further down the list, Portugal ranked above Spain (11), Germany (12), France (18) and Australia (21).

Some highly 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 and relatively high adolescent pregnancies.

Only one of the five measurement criteria was noted in Portugal, namely a small degree of child births among teenagers.

Each year, some 15 million girls in the world are married before the age of 18. In developing countries, one in three is wed before reaching 18 years and one in nine before becoming 15. Girls from poorer families are much more likely than richer girls to marry younger.

Child marriage triggers and exacerbates a cycle of disadvantage, especially being denied education, health and job opportunities as well as increasing a girl’s exposure to violence in the home.

An estimated 16 million adolescents between 15 and 19 years give birth each year. This represents 11% of all births in the world, but 23% of the burden of disease due to childbirth. These adolescents are far more likely to have poor nutrition and health, which increases the risk of death or disability by up to 50%

At the bottom of the list were Niger (144), Chad (143), the Central African Republic (142), Mali (141) and Somalia (140).

"The worst places to be a girl are amongst the poorest in the world. These countries have extremely high rates of deprivation across all indicators. They must focus urgently on ensuring that policy and practice uphold girls' rights," said the report.

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