New analysis in ONE’s 2016 Poverty is Sexist report ranks the toughest countries in which to be born a girl, with Niger topping the list. Compared to their brothers, girls here have less education, lack access to opportunities, such as opening a bank account, and are less likely to get paid work when they grow up.
Poverty and gender inequality go hand-in-hand. In 2016 half a billion women still cannot read, 62 million girls are denied an education and 155 countries still have laws that differentiate between men and women. Yet it is widely accepted that investing in girls and women lifts everyone out of poverty more quickly.
2016 offers two major political opportunities to make a difference for girls and women and to kick start progress towards achieving the end of extreme poverty: the replenishment of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and the Nutrition for Growth Summit.
These are crucial moments for nutrition and health because 40 per cent of women in Africa suffer from anaemia, which results in 20 per cent of maternal deaths – and girls account for 74 per cent of all new HIV infections among adolescents in Africa. Smart investments in the Global Fund and Nutrition for Growth will make significant headway against these diseases, and targeting girls and women will ensure a maximum return on investment.
The ONE Campaign’s Poverty is Sexist report also calls for policies that ensure legal equality for all and increased access to safe and reliable energy, which will particularly benefit girls and women. There must also be concerted efforts to connect everyone to the internet and further ensure that governments, businesses and civil society open up their own data so the public are able to see and account for progress towards achieving the Global Goals indicators.