International Year of Youth - Fact Sheet - Girls and Young Women

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There are 1.8 billion young people in the world and the majority live in developing countries. They are the largest generation of youth in history. Approximately half of them - 900 million - are adolescent girls and young women. These girls and young women possess huge untapped potential. When educated, healthy, and equipped with the right skills and opportunities, they hold the key to unlocking many of the world’s most pressing problems: reducing poverty, advancing gender equality, catalyzing countries’ social and economic development, halting the spread of HIV, reducing maternal mortality, and ending violence against women, among many others . As educated mothers, they will invest in the survival, education and success of the next generation. As leaders of today and tomorrow, they can be a force for social change Yet despite their potential the most marginalized, vulnerable and hard‐to‐reach adolescent girls are often invisible. They are not prioritized in many development programmes. Many youth‐ serving programmes tend to benefit older, educated, urban, and largely male youth. Not only is investing in girls and young women a human rights imperative, but it is one of the smartest investments any country can make.

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