Plan International say 'the world is failing girls and women'
Girls and women were hardest hit by the global recession, according to development charities.
A report by Plan International and the Overseas Development Institute said 'the world is failing girls and women' after more females were abused or starved and girls' infant mortality started soaring due to the financial crisis.
Speaking to BBC News, Nigel Chapman, chief executive of Plan International, said: 'The improvements made during the last five years are very fragile.
'It is shocking, because I don't think anyone's really noticing it.'
According to Mr Chapman, the proportion of baby girls who died when the economy shrank rose five times faster than the proportion of boys who died.
World Bank research into previous crises in 59 countries suggests a one per cent fall in economic output increases infant mortality by 7.4 deaths per 1,000 girls against 1.5 for boys. Mr Chapman calls this the 'most stark example of the impact of exacerbated poverty.'
In many cases, child marriage increased once the downturn hit. Mr Chapman said this was down to poverty-struck families who couldn't afford to feed their daughters. Others were taken out to work as labourers or even sex workers.
Women and girls were also found to suffer more neglect and abuse than before the financial crisis.
The report recommended the setting up of international programmes to ensure young women are properly fed, to protect them socially, to make sure they get to go to school and to create jobs for them after they have finished their education.
'We must close the gap between girls and women on the one hand and boys and men on the other', Mr Chapman added.
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