Three quarters of UK girls are impacted by the cost of living crisis

The increased cost of living is eroding the happiness and wellbeing of girls in the UK

  • Three quarters (75%) of girls aged 7-21 in UK are worried about the increased cost of living 
  • 1 in 5 (21%) girls aged 7-21 worry about their family not having enough food
  • 21% of girls aged 11-21 worry about not having enough money for period products or period pain medication

The increased cost of living is eroding the happiness and wellbeing of girls in the UK, with three quarters revealing they are worried by the crisis, according to early findings of Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. 

Concerningly, 1 in 5 (21%) girls aged 7-21 revealed they worry about their family not having enough food, whilst 1 in 5 (21%) 11-21-year-olds worry about not having enough money for period products or period pain medication. Girls living in areas of high deprivation are more likely to worry about their family not having enough food to eat (23% compared to 19% living in areas of low deprivation).   

The findings revealed that for disabled girls these worries are even greater, with 40% of disabled 11–21-year-old girls saying they worry all the time about themselves or their families not having enough money, compared to 26% of girls the same age, who are not disabled.  

The new research also highlights how the cost of living crisis is weighing just as heavily on younger girls’ minds, with 1 in 3 aged 7–10-year-olds disclosing they try not to ask their parents for pocket money or to go on school trips. When asked, 40% of all girls (7-21 years) said they have heard their parents or carers talk about the need to cut back on certain things to save money. 

2 in 5 (43%) of older girls and young women aged 11-21 say they are spending less money on things they enjoy, such as travel, books and leisure activities because they’re worried about money. The research shows this is more likely to be the case for disabled girls (60% compared to 40% of girls who are not disabled).  

When looking to their futures, almost half (47%) of girls aged 11-21 are concerned their opportunities are worse now than they were six months ago. For girls that identify as LGBTQ+ this was more likely (59% versus 43%).  

The new research found for all girls and young women aged 11-21: 

  • More than half fear not being able to afford to buy (59%) or rent their own home (50%)
  • 40% worry they will not have enough money to go university 
  • Over half (55%) worry they won’t be able to get a job after leaving education
  • 37% fear getting into debt with credit or store cards

Molly, 20, Girlguiding advocate said: “Sadly I wasn't surprised to learn that the cost of living crisis is creating even more worries for girls. What really hit home for me was the negative outlook so many girls had about their future opportunities. It's so sad to think that almost half of girls are spending less money on things they enjoy because they’re worried about money.”   

Girlguiding Chief Executive Angela Salt said: “The mental toll the cost of living crisis is having on girls in the UK is concerning. Our research shows just how these worries impact their day-to-day lives, with girls concerned over access to basic necessities like food and period products. 

“For the majority of girls, instead of looking to the future with hope and excitement they fear debt, not being able to get a job, afford rent, university or ever owning their own home.  

“Girls need spaces like Girlguiding, away from these pressures, where they can have fun, try new things but also feel empowered to voice their concerns in a safe and supportive environment. As a charity we are passionate about ensuring guiding is accessible and affordable to all girls and are constantly looking at new ways to ensure cost is never a barrier. We are very grateful for the funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery for helping us to provide this.”  

Tracy Foster, Chief Guide said:It is shocking how many girls are feeling the strain of the cost of living crisis. As an organisation, Girlguiding is taking steps to remain affordable. From grants to advising local leaders on cost effective activities and trips to uniform banks, guiding is working to stay accessible for all girls. All girls should be provided with opportunities to fulfil their potential, no matter their finances.”   

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “The increased cost of living is only adding to the ever-mounting list of worries and pressures faced by girls. The space and support Girlguiding provides its young members has never been more vital.  I'm delighted that funding raised by players across Britain enables Girlguiding to continue providing an accessible, happy, welcoming environment for all girls to find new friendships, explore and have fun trying new things."   

To help support girls and their families already in guiding, or considering joining, Girlguiding is taking steps to ensure the organisation is accessible and affordable during the current crisis for parents and their girls. These include supporting Girlguiding units to access internal and external grants and advising volunteers on ways to support existing and future members from cost effective trip and activity ideas, to uniform banks and available funding.  

As the UK’s largest youth organisation dedicated completely to girls, Girlguiding also works with decision makers, funders and other stakeholders across society to help tackle the undue pressures girls and young women face, including the current cost of living crisis. Since 2018, Girlguiding has campaigned to end period poverty and period stigma in the UK. Over the past couple of years, the organisation has called for the Government’s period products scheme in schools and colleges to be evaluated and improvements made after research found girls were unable to access products freely, if at all, without the stigma, or feeling embarrassed or ashamed.  

Girlguiding’s full Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2023 will be released in September. To mark 15 years of publication, the research will explore how girls’ lives have changed over the years since the first annual survey in 2009 and highlight the issues girls face today.