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Girls’ happiness at an all-time-low: What does 15 years of Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey show us


3 min read Partner content

We’re a powerful collective voice – by girls, for girls – changing the world for the better. We help all girls know they can do anything. We are Girlguiding.

We’re inviting you to join us at Conservative and Labour party conferences and hear directly from members of our youth panel, advocates, on the issues they care about and the changes they want to see. Our advocates, a group of Girlguiding members aged 14 to 25, come together from across the UK and use their platform to have their voices heard. They’ll be talking about the reality of girls’ lives through the findings of our latest Girls’ Attitudes Survey.

Girls are a powerful force for change in their own lives. We are a pioneering organisation and have been empowering girls for over 100 years. For 15 years, we have given girls and young women a platform to speak out on the issues that matter to them through our annual flagship research – the Girls’ Attitudes Survey - showing how girls’ and young women’s lives have changed year-on-year. This year’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey results are no different; many aspects of girls’ and young women’s lives have become worse and girls’ happiness has hit an all-time-low.

Whilst there have been some improvements, the findings give a stark insight into the pressures and experiences girls and young women face today – such as harassment and appearance pressures – and tell us the negative impact this is having on their lives.

Some of this year’s findings are devastating. Almost all girls in the UK have experienced some form of threatening or upsetting behaviour online (81% of girls aged 11-21 compared to 65% in 2018). 83% of girls aged 13-21 reported seeing upsetting content, such as self-harm or suicide, and 73% have received unwanted sexual images. This behaviour does not stop there - almost 3 in 5 girls aged 13-21 worry about being sexually harassed at school, in public or online (59%).

A chapter of our Girls’ Attitudes survey, dedicated to girls’ aspirations, has seen significant change over the past 15 years. When asked about their future, 48% of girls and young women aged 11-16 believe it’ll be harder for them to get a job when they leave education than it was for young people 5 years ago. We also see over half of girls and young women aged 11-21 (59%) worry that they will not be able to afford a home in the future.   

Responding to the results of our survey with their own experiences, our advocates will be joined by decision makers and experts to highlight how we can work towards improving the happiness of girls and young women in this country.

Join us at Conservative Party Conference on Sunday 1 October at 4:30pm – 5:30pm in the Youth Zone to hear the views of advocates, Grace, Eloise and Eibhlinn.

Or come along to our event at Labour Party Conference on Sunday 8 October 5:15pm – 6:15pm in the Youth Zone to discuss the results of our survey with advocates Lucy, Megan and Charlotte.

If you’re unable to join us at our fringe events, you can find us in the Youth Zone on Sunday and Monday at both Conservative & Labour party conference.

Read our latest Girls’ Attitudes Survey on our website:

About Girlguiding

Girlguiding is the UK’s largest youth organisation dedicated completely to girls, with around 370,000 members. Whether they’re 4 or 18 or in between, all girls have a home at Girlguiding - whoever they are, and wherever they are.

Contact Rebecca Pilkington, external affairs lead – to learn more about our Girls’ Attitudes Survey and meet with our advocates.

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Connecting Communities

Connecting Communities is an initiative aimed at empowering and strengthening community ties across the UK. Launched in partnership with The National Lottery, it aims to promote dialogue and support Parliamentarians working to nurture a more connected society.

Find out more