As the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, Girlguiding
commissions the Girls’ Attitudes Survey
– the UK’s largest annual study of its kind – each year. The survey gives girls’ and young women’s voices a platform to be heard and taken into account at the highest levels of decision-making across the UK. It empowers girls to speak out on the issues that really matter to them and affect their lives today. This major survey, now in its seventh year, canvasses the opinions of over 1,200 girls and young women aged 7 to 21, inside and outside guiding across the UK. The findings in 2015 build on those from 2014 and previous years. They give an insight into how girls feel about the specific and emerging pressures facing them today, and what these mean for their well-being and opportunities in life. Girlguiding’s youth panel, Advocate, leads the development of the survey each year and analyses the results. All the results from this and previous surveys can be found on Girlguiding’s website, www.girlguiding.org.uk/girlsattitudes.
“In this seventh Girls’ Attitudes Survey, what stands out is how significantly girls’ concerns have changed over the past few years – five years ago they were most worried about things like alcohol and drug use, but now their most commonly raised concern is mental health. It is clear that they feel they are living in an increasingly challenging world, and that this can be hugely detrimental to their well-being. What’s more, many girls are telling us that they feel the adults around them are often not aware of the pressures they face. Despite this, the survey reveals that girls and young women are taking action in their communities and beyond, and it is heartening to hear their eagerness to make change happen and carve out a better future for themselves and their peers. We asked them what one thing they would change if they could to make the world a better place for girls and young women. Their many ideas ranged from equal pay and changes to how the media represents women to more youth clubs and better access to mental health services.” Gill Slocombe Chief Guide, Julie Bentley Chief Executive.
The Girls’ Attitudes Survey this year finds that the issues affecting girls’ and young women’s health and well-being are wide-ranging.The findings give a stark insight into the pressures girls and young women face today – gender stereotypes and sexism, anxiety about employment, fear of physical, emotional and sexual harm, and online threats such as cyberbullying and pornography. Most damningly, girls say that the adults in their lives are out of touch with their concerns and not providing the information or support they need to remain resilient in the face of increasing pressures. Girls have made clear again that their voices are not being heard. In spite of all this, there are positives. Girls are still taking action in their local communities and beyond to improve their lives and the lives of those around them, and we have included some of their ideas for change here.