Women’s Rights Worldwide —
“Thank Heaven for Little Girls” – The lyrics to Maurice Chevalier’s most enduring song describe an idyllic view of little girls and the women they become. There is much in our art and literature that romanticizes girls and women and the role they play in our culture. But sadly, in our world today, being female often means being sentenced to a life of poverty, abuse, exploitation, and deprivation. Compared to her male counterpart, a girl growing up in the developing world is more likely to die before her fifth birthday and less likely to go to school. She is less likely to receive adequate food or health care, less likely to receive economic opportunities, more likely to be forced to marry before the age of 16, and more likely to be the victim of sexual and domestic abuse. Girls are forced to stay home from school to work. In fact, two thirds of the nearly 800 million illiterate people in the world are women.