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Being 15 Is Tough No Matter Where You Live: #15Girls

This month, NPR is shining a spotlight on 15-year-old girls — and we've invited our audience members to share their own stories about being 15.

The girls in our #15Girls series face big challenges and have big dreams. We've met girls so intimidated by the gang violence in El Salvador that they're afraid to leave home — and one girl who became a paramedic to help victims.

We saw how a girl in Zambia learned Harvard business school negotiation skills to persuade her relatives to lend her money so she could stay in school.

We've met girls in Nepal who have to sleep in a shed outside the house if they have their period — and one 15-year-old who's determined to quash that custom.

And on top of it all, they're 15 — an age that can be tough for any girl, no matter where she lives.

Our audience has used Twitter and Instagram to tell us the hardest thing about being 15. Some of their struggles are just what you'd expect: grades, boys, mean girls. But others are more difficult: their parents' divorce, early pregnancy and depression.

Here's a sampling from the hundreds of responses submitted so far:

Self-Esteem: To Your Own Self Be True

Chores: Give Me A Break!

Peer Pressure: Learning Not To Give In

School: Blerg, Chemistry!

Hard Times: Facing A Crisis

Have something to add? It's not too late.

Tell us: What was the hardest thing about being 15? Post a photo of yourself as a teen with your answer on Twitter or Instagram, and tag your post with #15Girls and @NPR. More details here.

See all submissions to our #15Girls social media campaign here:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Malaka Gharib is the deputy editor and digital strategist on NPR's global health and development team. She covers topics such as the refugee crisis, gender equality and women's health. Her work as part of NPR's reporting teams has been recognized with two Gracie Awards: in 2019 for How To Raise A Human, a series on global parenting, and in 2015 for #15Girls, a series that profiled teen girls around the world.