Girlguiding launches Girls' Attitudes Survey 2010
Girlguiding launches Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2010 and
uncovers a generation of girls and young women under
2010: Today, Girlguiding launches its second Girls’
Attitudes Survey looking at the views and opinions of today’s girls
and young women. New findings show that the pressure to look
attractive is taking a hold on girls’ lives. Girls are also worried
about academic pressure and believe stress leads their peers to
turn to unhealthy behaviours such as smoking and getting drunk.
They say that these can, in turn, lead to even more serious
implications for their health and wellbeing.
The Girls’ Attitudes Survey is a unique
snapshot of the opinions, attitudes and experiences of girls and
young women in 2010. The survey was commissioned by Girlguiding to
explore the opinions of girls in the UK at large and was conducted
with over 1,200 girls, forming a representative geographical and
social sample. The organisation has not surveyed its members.
The 2010 survey findings highlight the
pressure to be attractive, thereby supporting Girlguiding’s ongoing
petition for a kitemark to distinguish between airbrushed and
natural images, launched in August 2010.
SURVEY KEY FINDINGS
Girls say that smoking and binge
drinking are the two most serious health issues they face today and
stress is a major contributing factor to girls demonstrating these
- 82% of girls aged 11-21 said that smoking is a serious health
issue for today’s girls.
- 81% cited that alcohol abuse is a serious issue for today’s
- 50% think that girls smoke to relieve stress.
- More than half (54%) think that girls drink alcohol to relieve
- 1 in 5 (18%) would not seek help for smoking or alcohol
- 78% of girls believe that being drunk is the most common reason
for having unprotected sex.
The pressure to be attractive is still
a major part of girls’ lives, supporting Girlguiding’s call for a
kitemark to distinguish between airbrushed and natural
- Around half of girls (47%) believe that the pressure to look
attractive is the most negative part of being female.
- The 2009 survey found that 42% of girls had been on strict
diets. In 2010 girls were asked why. 75% said that
strict dieting took place to be attractive to others with 66%
claiming it was because of the media portrayal of women.
- Girls from lower performing schools place more importance on
being attractive compared to girls from higher performing schools –
33% from lower performing schools compared with 20% from higher
- Additionally, girls from lower performing schools also thought
it more important to be rich (24% vs 3%) and famous (32% vs 14%)
than girls from higher performing schools.
- Being fit and active was selected by more than half (54%) of
girls as an important factor in being successful in life.
The quality of girls’ relationships is
more important to them than having a traditional family set-up.
However, bullying at school and problems with friends are still a
- Over three quarters (78%) of girls aged 7-21 believe that
single parents can be just as successful as married couples in
bringing up children.
- Only 20% think that married couples make better parents.
- Nearly four fifths of girls say that the most important thing
for a ‘good’ family is having family members who support and spend
time with them.
- Nearly three quarters (71%) of girls think that having good
friends is the key to a successful life.
- However, for a third of 7-16 year olds bullying or problems
with friends are the worst thing about school. For girls aged 16-21
who work or are not in education, bullying and problems with
colleagues is still a concern for a quarter (25%).
Despite the recession, following
several major natural disasters during 2010 girls have a keen sense
of compassion and duty towards others.
- Around two thirds of girls (64%) believe that the UK should be
providing more financial aid to countries facing disasters such as
earthquakes and hurricanes.
Cathy Fraser Girlguiding spokesperson and head
of Girlguiding’s youth panel Advocate said: “Following on from the
fascinating insight that last years’ survey gave us into the views
and opinions of girls today, the Girls Attitudes Survey 2010 delves
deeper into the reasons behind some of last years’ outcomes.
We know that girls are growing up in ever
changing, increasingly complicated times and, as adults who care
about their experiences, we must listen to their views. Girls are
telling us that the world they are living in can be extremely
stressful, which leads to a range of unhealthy behaviours and
outcomes. It is vital that we support girls and young women to
develop their self-esteem and resilience so they can cope with it.
By understanding the issues that girls and young women are facing
we can support them to navigate these complex factors and become
strong and confident members of society.”
Leah Parsons (18) member of Girlguiding’s
youth panel Advocate said: “Our petition to label airbrushed images
came out of some of the findings of the Girls Attitudes Survey last
year and it is interesting to see further evidence of the pressure
on girls and young women reflected in this years’ results. The
survey is a chance for people to hear what girls really think about
the issues that affect our lives so it will be great to see how
this develops and what kind of impact it could have.”
Notes to Editors
For more information or full copies of the
reports contact the Girlguiding Press Office on 020 7592 1733 or
The research was conducted by leading research
specialists on children Childwise
A 40 second video has been produced to
highlight the report, it can be viewed at www.girlguiding.org.uk/girlsattitudes
The Girls Attitudes video was produced by
Creative Orchestra. Creative Orchestra is one of London's top
creative ad agencies and is unique in the fact it cultivates a lot
of young creative talent and also has the highest percentage of
women in it's creative department of any ad agency in London. It's
also one of the few with a female Creative Director - Victoria
Gallardo. For more information visit http://www.creativeorchestra.com/.
The photographer and director is Andrew Atkinson http://www.andrew-atkinson.com/.
Musician Hayden Parsey http://www.myspace.com/haydenparsey
The Girlguiding petition to distinguish
between airbrushed and natural images is open until 2nd
November 2010 and can be signed by visiting www.girlguiding.org.uk/petition
Girls’ Attitudes is a survey of girls
from across the United Kingdom aged 7-21 years on their attitudes
towards key social, political and economic issues.
The survey consisted of five categories, which
girls within the guiding movement identified as the most
interesting areas to question their peers on:
- Families and Relationships
- Education, Training, Skills and Careers
- Society, Culture and Community
- Environment and World Events
- Health and Wellbeing.
The cohort was divided into three age groups:
7-11, 11-16 and 16-21 years, with an age-appropriate questionnaire
devised for each. Certain common questions were also asked of all
The girls surveyed form a representative
sample of girls and young women across England, Wales, Scotland and
Northern Ireland. Booster interviews and data weighting have been
employed where necessary to adjust imbalances during fieldwork.
Fieldwork took place between March and April
Girlguiding is the UK’s largest voluntary
organisation for girls and young women, with around half a million
members and recognised volunteers. Over a third of girls and young
women (aged 7-21) are involved in guiding, or have been in the past
and almost half of all the women in the UK have been involved in
guiding at some stage in their lives. We run Rainbows,
Brownies, Guides and Senior Section, enabling girls and young women
to develop their potential whatever their ability or background. We
are striving to offer new opportunities to a broad diversity of
communities through our expanding network of 60,000 trained
At Girlguiding we seek to give girls a voice
and provide a unique, girl-only space where members feel
comfortable just being themselves. Our members, challenged by a
girl-led programme that extends beyond badges, enjoy a spectrum of
activities from outdoor adventure to pop-concerts to community
Girlguiding, part of a worldwide Movement of
approximately 10 million girls and young women in 145 countries,
launched its Centenary celebrations in September 2009.
Registered Charity No: 306016