Which are the world's best and worst countries for girls?

High teen pregnancy rate sees UK sit at 15 on Save the Children's list

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A woman picks tea leaves in Rwanda, which ranked sixth in global gender equality report
(Image credit: PHIL MOORE/AFP/Getty Images)

If you're a girl, then you want to live in Sweden, according to a new Save the Children report on the world's best and worst countries to be if you are a girl.

Every Last Girl measures nations against five indicators: early marriage, adolescent pregnancy, maternal mortality, women in parliament and secondary school completion.

While Sweden comes top, Niger is at the bottom, with the UK at number 15, a ranking affected by its relatively high teen pregnancy rate of 15.3 per 1,000 births. That factor, combined with a low proportion of women MPs, also pulls Australia down the list to 21st position.

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The world's largest economy, the US ranks 32nd, below Algeria and Kazakhstan, because of its relatively high teen pregnancy and maternal mortality rates.

Sub-Saharan countries rate worst, making up the bottom 20 entries from a total of 144 countries and showing high rates of deprivation across all five indicators.

The report, released to coincide with this week's International Day of the Girl, also finds that every seven seconds, one girl under the age of 15 gets married across the world.

Save the Children add early marriage has a knock-on effect on teen pregnancy, maternal deaths and the high levels of girls dropping out of school.

Writing in the Huffington Post, former Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, now chief executive of Save the Children International, says: "In the time it takes you to read this article, at least 45 girls under 15 will marry. That’s one girl every seven seconds."

Together with Kevin Watkins, chief executive of Save the Children UK, Thorning-Schmidt says there is a "compelling" case for action to achieve the UN target of ending child marriage by 2030, although progress is "painfully slow".

Best ten

Sweden

Finland

Norway

Netherlands

Belgium

Denmark

Slovenia

Portugal

Switzerland

Italy

Worst ten

Niger

Chad

Central African Republic

Mali

Somalia

Sierra Leone

Malawi

Guinea

Nigeria

Cote d'Ivoire

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