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How their world looks to girls in the UK


Girlguiding, Girls Attitude Survey 2018, girls and young women, views, fears, The percentage of girls and young women feeling unsafe outside is alarmingly high.

Shortly before the furore broke out about Girlguiding’s questionable approach to safeguarding other people’s female children and disregarding parental duties of care, Girlguiding released the results of their now annual survey that give an insight into how girls feel about a range of issues and emerging pressures.

This was the tenth annual Girls Attitudes Survey and had asked the opinions of over 1,900 girls and young women aged 7 to 21, and included girls inside and outside guiding and throughout the UK.

As such is does give an important view of how girls and young women in the UK see their world.

On the bright side, girls aged 7-10 in particular said they had noticed tasks being shared more equally between women and men, including those traditionally seen as male or female chores. 69 per cent expected women to do the housework in 2009, but in 2018 this has dropped to 46 per cent.

But this year 67 per cent of girls aged 11-21 said they think women don’t have the same chances as men – compared to 53 per cent in 2011.

And 73 per cent of girls 11-21 said women have to work much harder than men to succeed – compared to 57 per cent in 2011.

Only three in five girls and young women felt their voice was heard and made a difference, slightly less than seven years ago – a disappointing change given that in recent years an emphasis is supposed to have been made on actually listening to young people’s views.

When asked why they didn’t speak up, girls cited concerns about how they could do so, lack of confidence, their fear of not being taken seriously, and worries about the negative consequences of speaking out.

And 76 per cent of girls aged 7-10 said they thought jokes about girls being stupid or weak badly affect the way people treat girls and women – compared to 53 per cent in 2015.

But the percentage of girls and young women feeling unsafe outside is alarmingly high.

More than half of those aged 13 to 21 have felt unsafe walking home alone, experienced harassment or know someone who has, and nearly half feel unsafe using public transport.

And one area is extremely concerning – girls and young women aged 13 to 21 now feel it is acceptable for their partner to behave in abusive ways.

Another change in the last four years, is girls and young women aged 11 to 21 reporting, experiencing or seeing sexism across all areas of their lives more often.

It might mean they’re more aware of it in the media, online and in public – the result of campaigns like #MeToo and #TimesUp.

However, it is also possible it may reflect an increase in the scale of sexism girls face.

Compared to 2015, more 7 to 10 year-olds today think the way people treat girls and women is affected by naked pictures of women in the media, jokes about girls and more attention given to women’s clothes than actions.

The results all show there is a long way to go before girls truly have the same chances as boys.

Still a long way to go.

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