How #15Girls Are Changing Their Future, A New NPR Series Begins Today This fall, NPR journalists tell the stories of 15-year-old girls around the globe trying to change their future – often in the face of incredible risk, hardship and stereotypes.

How #15Girls Are Changing Their Future, A New NPR Series Begins Today

Many girls at the Veerni boarding school in India are child brides. They face a high stakes challenge: Get good grades and stay in school, or go back to their villages to live with their husbands. Poulomi Basu / VII Photo for NPR hide caption

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Poulomi Basu / VII Photo for NPR

Many girls at the Veerni boarding school in India are child brides. They face a high stakes challenge: Get good grades and stay in school, or go back to their villages to live with their husbands.

Poulomi Basu / VII Photo for NPR

NPR SERIES OFFERS PORTRAITS OF GIRLS REWRITING THEIR FUTURE AT 15

"#15Girls" Begins Today On All Things Considered
Stories From Around the Globe Continue Through Oct. 28

October 5, 2015; Washington, D.C. – Young women everywhere today are bucking trends and challenging tradition to pursue a life they want for themselves rather than what's expected of them. This fall, NPR journalists tell the stories of 15-year-old girls around the globe trying to change their future – often in the face of incredible risk, hardship and stereotypes. Follow the month-long #15Girls series on NPR newsmagazines, online at NPR's Goats and Soda blog and in social media with the hashtag #15Girls from October 5-28 (detailed schedule available below).

The #15Girls series begins this afternoon on All Things Considered with voices from El Salvador. Street gangs rule the country, so the decisions girls make can mean life or death.

"El Salvador is a country of girls on self-imposed house arrest," reports All Things Considered Host Kelly McEvers, who traveled to El Salvador in late June. She found girls there have a limited number of alternatives if they want to stay alive: make the dangerous and sometimes futile journey to the U.S., or stay locked inside your home.

Through the month of reports and audio portraits from eight countries, the series examines gender-based expectations and other elements of these girls' (and a few boys') lives that they see as surmountable obstacles - child marriage in India, the Brazilian bias against tomboys, access to education and healthcare, community violence and sexual abuse.

The young women in the #15Girls series take risks, break rules and defy stereotypes to create a better life for themselves. NPR is asking audiences to connect with these girls by sharing their own experiences: What's the hardest thing about being 15? Share a personal story along with a photo of you as a teenager on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #15Girls. No answer is too big or too small. The #15Girls team will collect their favorite submissions and profile those people on NPR's Goats and Soda blog at the end of October.

Schedule & Story Descriptions: NPR's #15Girls Series

Girls from every corner of the world show us how they're change their future
Note: Schedule is tentative and subject to change. Local broadcasters and their schedules can be found by visiting npr.org/stations.

Monday, October 5
All Things Considered
& NPR.org
Staying Alive in San Salvador: El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in the world. It's ruled by street gangs. Because of this, the decisions girls make can mean life or death. NPR's Kelly McEvers and Jasmine Garsd talk to 15 year olds about their strategies for staying alive.

Wednesday, October 7
Morning Edition
& NPR.org
Negotiate Your Way to School in Zambia:
Going to high school in Zambia costs money. Madalitso Mulando's family was able to send her older brother and sister to school and then to college. By the time it was Madalitso's turn, her mother's grocery stand had closed and her father's hardware store was failing. Her parents told her they couldn't afford Madalitso's $150 tuition for the tenth grade. But then she met Harvard Business School's negotiation gurus. NPR's Gregory Warner and Laura Starecheski report.

Tuesday, October 13
All Things Considered
& NPR.org
Mad About Soccer:
A story about four soccer-loving teen girls. Two live in the U.S. where girls can play all the soccer they want. Two live in Brazil, where it's taboo for girls to play team sports. It's not considered feminine in a country that holds on to traditional gender roles. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro and Peter Breslow report.

Thursday, October 15
Morning Edition
& NPR.org
Future Hidden in Afghanistan:
NPR's Rebecca Hersher talks with girls at the Tanweer high school in Kabul, Afghanistan. They dream of being doctors – even president. What they don't yet know is that after they finish high school, most of them never see their dreams come true.

Saturday, October 17
Weekend Edition Saturday
& NPR.org
Breaking Menstruation Taboos:
Priakriti Kandel and Kamala B.K. were both born and raised in Nepal, and they both love math. And like most girls in Nepal, when they have their periods something horrible happens. One girl fears for her life each time. The other was blamed for her father's illness. NPR's Michaeleen Doucleff and Jane Greenhalgh report.

Monday, October 19
All Things Considered
& NPR.org
Dreamless in Lebanon:
For all the horrors the war in Syria has produced, there is one side effect of the conflict that gets little attention: child labor. Fifteen-year-old Fatmeh is one of thousands of children who fled Syria with their families and now are forced to work every day in the agricultural fields in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Back home in Syria, Fatmeh went to school and expected to go to college. Today, she is virtually an indentured servant. NPR's Jason Beaubien and Rebecca Davis report.

Tuesday, Oct. 20
Where The Girls Are (And Aren't): #15Girls

Wednesday, Oct. 21
Being 15 Is Tough No Matter Where You Live: #15Girls

Saturday, October 24
QUIZ: How Much Do You Know About The World's Girls? #15Girls

Monday, October 26
All Things Considered
& NPR.org
School for Child Brides:
Nimmu is 15 and attends the Veerni boarding school for girls in Jodhpur, India. She works extra hard to get good grades, because if she doesn't, she'll be sent home to live with her husband. She was married at age ten, in a ceremony with her two sisters. But the free education provided by Veerni has kept her in-laws from demanding that she move in with her husband. NPR's Nurith Aizenman and Vikki Valentine report.
See also: Why A School For Child Brides Made Villagers Mad ... At First: #15Girls

Wednesday, October 28
Children Get Married In The U.S., Too: #15Girls

Saturday Oct. 31
Weekend Edition Saturday & NPR.org
Leaving Home: We meet a Christian teen in Beirut. She's worried that the Middle East's tumultuous present could derail her future. She predicts she'll have to leave the things she loves most - her family, her church and her country - to succeed as a professional woman. NPR's Jason Beaubien and Rebecca Davis report.

Sunday Nov. 1
All Things Considered, weekend & NPR.org
Making it in America: Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR's All Things Considered, meets with three girls at Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., to talk about the challenges American girls face and how they forge and make their own identities.

Mid-November
Morning Edition & NPR.org
India's School for 'Good Boys': India has some of the highest rates of gender inequality in the world. One NGO working in Pune is hoping to end these abuses by changing the attitudes of boys. They hold weekly afterschool classes teaching boys how to treat girls as their equals. Aniket is 15, and his parents say these classes have in fact made him a "good boy". But his world is still filled with gender contradictions. NPR's Nurith Aizenman and Vikki Valentine report.

Contact

NPR Media Relations: Caitlin Sanders
Email: mediarelations (at) npr.org