Adolescence is a critical period in a girl’s life, when significant physical, emotional, and social changes shape her future. In too many parts of the world, adolescence is the most precarious time for girls. A quarter of a billion girls live in poverty. One in three girls in the developing world is married by the time she is 18, and one in nine is married by the age of 15. Every year, millions of girls undergo female genital mutilation/cutting. Millions more live in conflict settings that increase the risk of gender-based violence. Many girls continue to be infected with HIV/AIDS, and too few girls have the education or skills they need to participate fully in the economies of their countries.
While adolescence is a time of great vulnerability for girls,