Girlguiding calls for the next government to create a more equal society

 

Photo by tommao wang on Unsplash

Girlguiding, the UK’s largest youth organisation dedicated completely to girls, has recently set out how the next government should better prioritise girls’ and young women’s needs, happiness, and safety.

Ahead of the general election, the charity is calling for the government to listen to girls and act on the issues that matter to them most. Developed in collaboration with girls and young women of all ages, the document titled ‘For All Girls: Girlguiding’s Asks of The Next Government’ sets out the vision for girls’ safety, mental health, cost of living and the environment.

Angela Salt, CEO of Girlguiding said: “Girls have told us that they’re worried about their safety, mental health, the cost-of-living crisis, and the environment – and we’re calling for decision-makers to listen and create a more equal society.

“We know that girls’ happiness has hit an all-time low, and they are struggling with their mental health, so it is crucial that a future government make reversing this steady decline a core priority.”

Girlguiding’s asks are categorised into four main areas – girls’ safety, mental health, cost of living and the environment.

Safety:

Girlguiding’s 2023 Girls’ Attitudes Survey found that 52% of girls and young women aged 11-21 don’t think sexist comments are dealt with seriously in schools. 69% of girls said boys had made comments about girls and women that they’d describe as ‘toxic’.

Mental health:

Mental health conditions are more than twice as common in girls than boys. Even more worryingly, it’s been reported that girls and young women under the age of 24 have seen the largest increase in suicide rates since reporting began in 1981.

Cost of living:

Girlguiding data found that 75% of girls aged 7-21 are worried about the increased cost of living. 1 in 5 girls (21%) aged 11-21 worry about not having enough money for period products or period pain medication.

Environment:

Climate change is an incredibly important issue for girls. 62% of 7-21-year-old girls worry about climate change and threats to the environment some or all of the time.

Girlguiding launched their asks at a House of Commons event, sponsored by Kim Leadbeater MP. The event was attended by key political figures, celebrity presenter Ashley James, who spoke to attendees about the disproportionate mental health challenges currently facing girls and Girlguiding members including Millie, 17, who said: “It is worrying that girls don’t feel safe, wherever they go, and something needs to be done to protect girls and their futures. We would like to see a government that will revise and create policy tackling this issue, and address gender inequality within parliament and the country as a whole.”

Through the charity’s innovative peer education program, core programme and wellbeing and resilience tools, Girlguiding continues to help and support girls and young women – allowing them to learn, have fun and enjoy adventures, as they have for over 100 years.