AP PHOTOS: Growing Up Female, Across The Globe

In this Sept. 29, 2015, file photo, Luana poses for photos on her roller skates at her home in Merlo, Argentina. Luana says that when one of the girls asked her why she had a penis, a friend jumped in. "She's transsexual," the child explained, nonchalantly. That level of comfort is no doubt in part because Luana herself appears so at ease. In 2013, she became the youngest person to take advantage of a progressive Argentine law that allows people to identify their own gender for legal purposes. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File


Baby Seibureh, 17, and Claude Seibureh, 48, of Freetown, were married during the Ebola crisis. Because of her small stature, Baby needed a cesarean section to safely give birth to their son, Joseph. (Stephanie Sinclair/Too Young to Wed via AP


Ranjeda, 9, Rumana, 10, Minajan, 10 and Wisma Bi Bi, 12, smile at each other while waiting in their classroom in Chakmarkul refugee camp, Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E


In this Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2012 file photo, a young girl in her colorful dress reaches out to greet a Pakistani policeman securing the road outside Kainat Riaz's home in Mingora, Swat Valley, Pakistan. ( AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File


Hagar Yahia holds her daughter Awsaf, a thin 5-year-old who is getting no more than 800 calories a day from bread and tea, half the normal amount for a girl her age, in Abyan, Yemen. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty


In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, ttudents gather to grieve during a vigil at Pine Trails Park for the victims of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla..(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File

In this Nov. 12, 2013, file photo, a young girl who is a member of the RAF cadets walks between gravestones at Tyne Cot World War One cemetery in Zonnebeke, Belgium. Tyne Cot is now the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world in terms of burials. There are 11,956 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery, 8,369 of those burials are unidentified. Other special memorials commemorate 20 casualties whose graves were destroyed by shell fire and there are 4 German burials, 3 being unidentified. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

In this Nov. 8, 2012, file photo, girls turning 15 pose in their gowns for photos inside a pink limousine before their debutante ball, organized by the Peacemaker Police Unit program in the Mangueira favela, or shantytown, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The debutante ball marks girls' transition from childhood to adulthood and is common in Brazil and other Latin American countries. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo, File)

Students protest gun violence in the biggest demonstration yet of the student activism that has emerged in response to last month's massacre of 17 people at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


In this Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, file photo, Rohingya Muslim girls carry water pots in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)


In this June 24, 2015, file photo, schoolgirls walk through the rocky yard of Bethesda Evangelical School during a break in class, in Canaan, Haiti. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)


In this Nov. 14, 2016, file photo, Nurya Temam, center front, a 10th grade student at Northwest School, cheers with other students who walked out of classes in Seattle as they protest the election of Donald Trump as president. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

CAIRO (AP) — As the world marks the International Day of the Girl Child, women’s rights activists point to progress on a wide array of issues but say more needs to be done to protect girls from child marriage, sexual assault and other forms of exploitation.

Experts say girls in their first decade are better positioned for success than their mothers and grandmothers were, thanks to advances in health care and nutrition, and wider access to education. But they say more must be done to keep adolescent and teenage girls in school, and to protect them from violence, unintended pregnancies and forced marriage, which remains common in much of the developing world.

“Poverty, violence, and cultural traditions oppress millions of girls in every part of the world,” said Stephanie Sinclair, a visual journalist who founded “Too Young To Wed,” which campaigns to protect girls’ rights and end child marriage, while offering services to survivors. “It is still a global struggle to have girls valued for more than their bodies — for just their sexuality, fertility and labor.”

The U.N. children’s agency says 12 million girls under the age of 18 will marry this year, and 21 million between the aged of 15 and 19 will get pregnant.

“Every girl should have the right to decide for herself, if, when and whom to marry,” Sinclair said. “To be allowed to be children and teens, with access to gender specific health care and all levels of education; and free to determine the course of their own lives.”

The decision to award this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to Nadia Murad, 25, who was among thousands of women and girls kidnapped and enslaved by the Islamic State group in 2014, highlighted a particularly vicious form of sexual assault.

But the #MeToo campaign has shown that less violent forms of sexual abuse and misconduct are all too common, affecting women at all income levels and across multiple industries. Even in wealthy countries, women face persistent pay gaps and other forms of discrimination.

Here is a selection of pictures showing the daily lives of girls across the globe, all taken by female Associated Press photojournalists.

How you can help:

Donate to Too Young to Wed here: http://tooyoungtowed.org/

Follow all of the photographers featured in this gallery: https://twitter.com/APMiddleEast/lists/women-of-ap-photography

Follow Maya Alleruzzo on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mayaalleruzzo

And on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mayaalleruzzo/
0