This book integrates the role of gender in girls and womens development across the life span, looking specifically at internal and external vulnerabilities and risks, and the protective or supportive factors that facilitate effective coping, positive growth, strength, and resilience. The interaction between physical, psychological, and cultural factors is integrated within each period of development. The book emphasizes how gender socialization of female development and behavior impacts both self-evaluation and identity processes within various cultural groups. The book also discusses the social roles that girls and women reflectively adopt. Lastly, it recognizes that externally induced risks such as poverty, interpersonal abuse, and violence present challenges to healthy development.