Research and data to show the evolving state of play for women and girls around the world.

MECCA M-POWER stylised percentage graphic

Statistics are human beings with the tears wiped away.

MECCA-M-POWER stylised percentage graphic

Paul Brodeur

Statistics for

Day of the girl

Girls (aged 1-16 years) born today can expect to live nearly
eight more years
on average, than girls born in 1995

There are more than
1 billion girls
under 18 in the world


Every additional year of primary school increases girls' eventual wages by 10-20%. It also encourages them to marry later and have fewer children, and leaves them less vulnerable to violence

Worldwide, the rate of enrolment for primary and secondary school has almost reached gender parity
90% boys 89% girls

Two-thirds of all countries have reached gender parity in primary school enrolment

Globally, in 1998, there were more girls of secondary school age out of school than boys (143 million girls compared to 127 million boys). Today, the opposite is true. There are 97 million girls of secondary school age out of school compared to 102 million boys.

For every dollar invested into girls’ rights and education, developing nations could see a return of $2.80

Nearly 2 in 3 girls are enrolled in secondary school compared to 1 in 2 in 1998

The number of girls aged 15-24 years who are illiterate declined from 100 million to 56 million between 1995 and 2018, but 1 in 10 girls remain illiterate today

Nearly 1 in 4 girls aged 15-19 years is neither employed nor in education or training, compared to 1 in 10 boys of the same age

The number of girls out of school worldwide
dropped by 79 million
between 1998 and 2018

Child marriage, sexual violence, reproductive health and FGM

12 million girls
are forced to marry as children every year

Globally, around 1 in 5 adolescent girls have experienced recent intimate partner violence

In most developing countries, less than 50% of married girls aged 15-19 make informed decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use and reproductive health

In more than one third of countries, at least 5% of girls reported experiences of sexual violence in childhood

Over the past decade, the proportion of girls aged 15-19 who have undergone female genital mutilation
has decreased
from 41% to 34%


Girls are still significantly underrepresented
in most community-club level sports, meaning they are missing out on the benefits that participation in sports provide, including improvements in health and wellbeing

Only 22% of registered football players at community club level are female

Boys are almost
3x more likely
than girls to have engaged in 60 minutes of exercise every day


Of the 690 million people who are food insecure in the world right now, 60% are women and girls

Globally, girls aged 5-14 spend 16 million more hours every day on unpaid care and domestic work than boys of the same age

Almost half of primary schools in least developed countries lack single-sex toilets – an important factor in girls’ attendance – and more than two thirds are without electricity

At least 60% of countries still discriminate against daughters’ rights to inherit land and non-land assets in either law or practice

Sources: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2022). World Population Prospects 2022, Online Edition; UNICEF; UN Women: Rural Women and the Millennium Development Goals; World Bank; Plan International and Citi’s Global Insights team (WEF); World Food Program USA, Football Victoria