New study finds Northern girls feel less ‘happy, confident, and safe’ than those in the south
Some 3,015 girls and young women aged between seven and 21 across the UK were surveyed by charity Girlguiding.
A new study has revealed that girls in the north feel less happy, confident, and safe than those in the south of England.
According to a recently-conducted research by Girlguiding – which saw some 3,015 girls and young women aged between seven and 21 across the UK surveyed between March and April for the charity’s annual Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2022, funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery – girls from the North were found to be “significantly less happy” with their lives than their Southern counterparts.
Northern girls were also less likely to feel safe in public, and also felt that certain gender stereotypes hold them back at school, according to Girlguiding.
Overall, the survey found that more than half of girls and young women aged 11 to 21 do not feel safe outside alone (53%) in the North, while 45% said the same about being out in public, and 19% did not feel safe in school.
More than half of girls in the North (51%) feel just generally unsafe in public – which is compared with 41% of those in London and the South.
Girls in the North were also found to be the least likely to feel safe outside alone and at school.
It’s not just in public, as 26% of northern girls said they do not feel safe online, and the survey even found that 36% of girls and young women on average – 41% in the north – are put off certain jobs due to the level abuse that high-profile women get online.
Girls and young women in the North were also more likely to say that gender stereotypes hold them back at school (26%), compared with 21% overall and 18% in the South.
Overall, two-thirds of girls and young women aged 11 to 21 said they experience or see sexism in their daily lives at school, college, university, or work, and 17% aged 13 to 21 said the fear of sexual harassment holds them back at school.
“It’s shocking how many girls and young women, some as young as 11 years old, don’t feel safe at school, on social media or out in public,” commented Angela Salt – chief executive of Girlguiding.
“Our research shows just how common discrimination, stereotyping and sexism is in our society and how unsurprisingly this creates barriers to happiness, confidence, and success.
“Coupled with the disparities in girls’ experiences across the country, it is vital we act now to address these issues to ensure every girl and young woman is provided with the opportunities to fulfil their potential, no matter where they live.”
Girlguiding is now calling on the government to take action.
The charity said the government must ensure levelling up is meaningful for girls and young women by prioritising their safety and wellbeing in education, health and public spaces, and online.
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Featured Image – Jordane Mathieu (via Unsplash)