3 social injustices that girls face around the world

Social justice means an array of important principles, like equality, peace, safety and freedom. Upholding social justice means valuing the rights of all individuals, and unfortunately, the world isn’t quite there yet.

Millions of girls and women around the world face injustices, like being denied an education, forced into an early marriage, or made victims of gender-based violence. These injustices prevent girls and women from reaching their full potential.

In order to champion change and a create a more equal world for all, we must break down the barriers that many girls face everyday, including:

1. Girls’ education

Girl smiling in classroom

Globally, an estimated 130 million girls are not in school, and many girls who are in school struggle to stay there and finish their education. In developing countries, a wide range of barriers prevent girls from receiving the quality education they deserve, like poverty, child marriage, violence in school, the long distance to get to school and even the lack of girls’ washrooms.

With an education, a girl has the opportunity to decide her own future and make informed decisions about her career, body, health, partner and more!

2. Child, early or forced marriage

Girl holding up a sign at a march in Uganda, that says "I am a girl child, do not make me a child mother."

Every year, nearly 12 million girls around the world are affected by child, early or forced marriage. Child marriage violates girls’ human rights, limits their education, and can jeopardize their health. Girls married at an early age are often forced to drop out of school and become mothers when still children themselves.

The practice of child marriage contributes to the cycle of poverty, with daughters of young mothers more likely to lose out on their education and marry early as well.

Keeping girls in school and helping families see the value of educating their daughters play a key part in ending child marriage. Girls with an education are 6x less likely to be married off as a child and will have fewer, yet healthier and more educated children.

3. Gender-based violence

3 girls in dark shadows

Gender-based violence is pandemic and can be found in all aspects of women’s and girls’ lives around the world. According to the UN, 1 in 3 girls and women experience some form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

Globally, between 500 million and 1.5 billion children experience violence every year, with many of these incidents taking place within schools. It is estimated that 150 million girls and 73 million boys have experienced sexual violence worldwide.

Gender-based violence comes in different forms, including physical, sexual, and psychological or emotional violence. Different forms of gender-based violence include: physical violence, sexual violence, psychological or emotional violence, economic violence.


Join the movement for girls’ rights

Plan International is standing with girls and young women and creating pathways for them to become leaders and make change happen. We work with all community members and leaders, including men and boys, to help girls learn, lead, decide and thrive – because empowering girls is essential to achieving gender equality.

Learn more about our work to break down barriers for girls around the world