A report published by Save the Children UK for the International Day of the Girl last week ranks the best and worst countries to be a girl. Every Last Girl: free to live, free to learn, free from harm includes a 'Girls’ Opportunity Index,' which measures countries against five indicators: early marriage, adolescent pregnancy, maternal mortality, women in parliament, and secondary school completion.
Australia is ranked only 21st out of 144 nations. The two major factors contributing to Australia’s poor rating were the low proportion of women in parliament and a relatively high teen pregnancy rate. Sweden rates most highly.
The report states that over 700 million women in the world today were married before they turned 18, and one in three of those women were married before they turned 15. 30 million girls are at risk of genital mutilation and 2.6 billion girls live in countries where marital rape is not criminalised. There are many other barriers to global equality for girls, including economic exclusion, education gaps and trafficking and slavery.