Girls' Attitudes Survey

A snapshot of girls’ and young women’s lives over the past ten years

Since 2009 we’ve been giving girls and young women a platform to speak out on the issues that matter to them. We do this every year through the Girls’ Attitudes Survey, our flagship research asking girls and young women how they feel about their everyday lives.

Now in its tenth anniversary year, we’re asking the same questions we’ve posed over the past decade (as well as a few new ones too). The results paint a picture of how girls’ lives, hopes and challenges have changed in the past ten years. And they help us focus on the bigger picture: changing society so girls and young women can make a difference and be their best.

Fewer girls say they’re happy compared to ten years ago 

  • 25% of girls aged 7-21 say they are very happy compared to 41% in 2009
  • 64% of girls and young women aged 11-21 say they know someone who has experienced an anxiety disorder, compared with 50% in 2014
  • 59% of girls aged 11-21 say social media is a main cause of stress. Ten years ago social media wasn’t included in the survey – Facebook was only five years old and Instagram, Whatsapp and Snapchat didn’t exist!
It’s disheartening to see that girls’ happiness has gone down over the past decade. Much more needs to be done to ensure the next generation of girls and young women aren’t held back by the lack of support and understanding they need to live happy and positive lives - Maddie

Ways girls can explore this topic

But younger girls are happier with how they look

  • 51% of girls aged 7-10 say they are very happy with how they look compared to 44% in 2009
  • But 41% of young women aged 17-21 say they are not happy with how they look compared to 30% in 2009
The fact that over half of 7-10 year olds are very happy with how they look provides hope. But iIt’s shocking and scary that more and more young women are not happy with how they look. We need to find a way to protect young women from losing their body confidence as they get older - Juliet, Advocate

Ways girls can explore this topic

Girls enjoyment of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths changes as they get older

  • 34% of girls aged 7-16 enjoy science at school compared to 24% in 2009 
  • 43% of girls aged 7-10 enjoy ICT at school compared to 19% in 2009 
  • But only 26% of girls aged 11-16 say they enjoy ICT compared to 35% in 2009
  • 57% of girls aged 11-21 want to be taught money management and finance at school compared to 47% in 2010
It's brilliant that more and more girls are enjoying studying science. However, the fact that only a third enjoy it shows we still need to make progress in promoting STEM to girls, including in ICT where the enjoyment level has significantly dropped for 11-16 year-olds - Izzy, Advocate 

Ways girls can explore this topic

Girls feel they don’t have the same chances as men

  • 67% of girls aged 11-21 think women don’t have the same chances as men compared to 53% in 2011
  • 73% of girls 11-21 think women have to work much harder than men to succeed compared to 57% in 2011
  • Of those that have spoken up on an issue they care about, 60% of girls aged 11-21 said they felt heard and it made a difference compared to 64% in 2011
With more girls believing they don’t have the same chances as boys, and fewer feeling speaking up makes a difference, the message is clear: when young women speak out, society needs to listen! - Juliet, Advocate 

Ways girls can explore this topic

Now girls are demanding equality in all areas

  • 76% of girls aged 7-10 think jokes about girls being stupid or weak badly affect the way people treat girls and women compared to 53% in 2015.
  • Girls aged 7-10 in particular have noticed tasks being shared more equally between women and men, including those traditionally seen as male or female chores. 69% expected women to do the housework in 2009. But in 2018 this has dropped to 46%.
Younger girls being aware of misogyny is a huge step in eliminating sexism, with a greater percentage of girls recognising the negative repercussions of stereotyping and traditional views of gender in relation to the wider world. - Izzy, Advocate 

Ways girls can explore this topic

About our Girls' Attitudes Survey

The biggest survey of its kind, the Girls Attitudes Survey asks the opinions of over 1,900 girls and young women aged 7 to 21. It includes girls inside and outside of guiding and right across the UK.

The findings give an insight into how girls feel about a range of issues and emerging pressures. They tell us what girls need to support their happiness, wellbeing and opportunities in life.