Sending more girls to school may help poor countries get out of the economic slump faster, Plan International
says in a new report. Just a one percent rise in the number of girls attending secondary school boosts a country's annual per capita income growth by 0.3 percent. Girls are a formidable future workforce - if they get adequate training. There are over 500 million adolescent girls and young women in developing countries, Plan estimates in its report Girls in the Global Economy: adding it all up
. But many girls do not have the opportunities for good education, and the financial crisis is worsening their situation. In times of economic hardship, girls in the poorest countries are the first to be pulled out of school, the report says. Some parents consider the education of boys to be more important, and girls often have to start working, or looking after children as their mothers try to improve household income.