On IWD 2024, nearly three quarters of girls aged 11-19 say gender inequality exists

8 March 2024

New research from Girlguiding, the UK’s largest youth organisation dedicated completely to girls, reveals almost three quarters of girls aged 11-19 years agree that gender inequality still exists.

The research released ahead of International Women’s Day (8 March) surveyed over 70001 girls across the UK between the ages of 4-19 (both Girlguiding members and non-members), to find out to what degree girls still find that gender inequality exists within their schools and communities.

Out of all the girls aged 4–19 that were asked, 70% agreed that they see gender inequality towards girls. This rises to 72% for girls of colour, and 75% respectively for girls living in the most socioeconomically deprived communities and disabled girls.

Girls agreed most strongly with the statement that ‘girls face more pressures than boys’, with 66% of girls between the ages of 11-19 believing this to be true.

Megan, 22, Girlguiding advocate, said:

“Ever since I was little, I have always been aware that I have struggled with certain aspects of life more than my male friends. From being forced to play 'girl sports' in school to being harassed in the streets, gender inequality is all around me, and it is heartbreaking to watch the younger generation grow up and learn that we still face the same issues they have learned about in their history lessons, like the gender pay gap.

“The government needs to do more to tackle gender inequality on a national scale and make girls and young women feel safe in this country, and, in turn, provide them with the confidence to grow and succeed in the future.”

The new research follows Girlguiding’s most recent Girls’ Attitudes Survey (2023), which revealed that 69% of girls aged 11-16 said boys have made comments about girls and women that they would describe as ‘toxic’ in school and almost 3 in 5 girls aged 11-21 worry about being sexually harassed at school, in public or online (59%).

Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2023 found:

  • The number of girls who feel they have the same opportunities as boys has decreased – more than 1 in 10 girls believe they’re hardly ever given the same opportunities to do things as boys or men.
  • Half (50%) of girls and young women aged 7-21 have been patronised or made to feel stupid because they’re a girl, compared to 46% in 2013.
  • 57% of girls aged 13- 21 have had sexist comments made about them.

This month, media reports highlighted the rise of misogynistic behaviour in schools. Ofsted reports showed that there were no reported cases of misogyny in 2017, but this increased to 106 cases in 2022 – a rise of over 100% in 6 years.

Girlguiding is committed to building girls' confidence and resilience, empowering all girls to know they can do anything. The age-spanning programme for girls aged 4-18 is designed with this in mind, as represented in Girlguiding’s six core themes - Know Myself, Express Myself, Be Well, Have Adventure, Take Action and Skills for the Future.

Angela Salt, CEO of Girlguiding, said:

“These findings continue to show the gender inequality that still exists today. Days like International Women’s Day give us another opportunity to highlight the unacceptability of such gender inequality.  At Girlguiding, we’re committed to creating an equal world for girls and are proud to provide an empowering and supportive space for our members, free from gender stereotypes – where we help all girls to know that they can do anything.”