Girl-voice priority areas

Girl-voice priority areas

Everything we do is led by girls

Each year we ask girls and young women to tell us what’s important to them. What they say informs everything we do in Girlguiding – from our programme of activities to our campaigns. From breaking down gender stereotypes to supporting girls’ wellbeing,  our six priority areas for 2018 have been driven by girls and young women. By working on them together, we can make things better for us all.

Fun and adventure

‘Girls’ lives would be better if we told girls that they can do anything.’ - Young woman, 11-16
‘I have never had so much fun on the water - paddleboarding, windsurfing, kayaking and sailing all in one camp.’  – Guide

89% of girls aged 7-21 say they feel adventurous (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2016)

Providing girls with fun and adventure is one of our core values. So we’re constantly changing to make sure we remain relevant to girls today, without losing what makes us uniquely us.

Our new programme is developed with fun and adventure at its heart. Girls can get badges and try activities in everything from survival, world traveller and independent living through to science investigator, stargazer, body confidence and mental resilience. 

What we’re doing: Link to programme


Gender stereotypes

Girls’ lives would be better if they weren’t judged for the way they look and what they wear.” (Girl, 7-10)
‘The media should include a diversity of images that portray women, for example, in politics, business, academia, engineering, science, technology, mathematics and leading professions. These images must also be taken seriously, not ridiculed or mocked for not conforming to the sexualised stereotype of women.’ (Sarah, 21, Morecambe, Girlguiding member)

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’ Attitudes Survey, 2018)

55% of girls aged 7-21 say gender stereotypes affect their ability to say what they think (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2017)

Only 43% of girls aged 11-21 say they have the same choices as boys at their school in sport and exercise (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2017)

Gender stereotypes continue to limit girls’ opportunities in life and waste their talents and contributions across society. Girls tell us that from a young age, they are exposed to ideas of what is ‘for girls’ and ‘for boys’. We believe that urgent action must be taken by the media, government, schools, parents and civil society to tackle these limiting gender stereotypes that girls and young women face across all areas of their lives. We believe that gender should not be the defining factor of young people’s life chances and options. All young people should be free to grow up with all avenues are open to them, whatever their gender.

What we’re doing: Link to peer education, what else?


Democracy and politics

‘Girlguiding is calling for equal representation for women in politics and an improved political education system so girls and young women feel engaged in a key part of society. As an organisation, we work hard to engage all young women in politics, from our campaigns to our voter registration push during the 2017 General Election.’ - Girlguiding advocate Sophie, 20

Girls and young women aged 11-21 said they are put off going into politics for a variety of reasons including the way female politicians are represented in the media (34%), reports of high levels of sexual harassment (32%) and a lack of female politicians (28%). (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2018)

Only 27% of girls and young women aged 11-21 think politicians understand the issues girls and young women face today (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2017)

We believe girls and young women should have the opportunity to participate in politics and democracy. They should have their voices heard on the issues that matter to them now and in the future. Girls tell us that they care about a number of political issues and we see our role as helping them to speak out and be heard on these.

What we’re doing: Link to promoting girls voice


Wellbeing and mental health

One thing that would improve girls’ lives would be to talk more about mental health and make it not a taboo.” (Young woman, 11-16)

25% of girls and young women aged 7-21 say they are very happy compared to 41% in 2009 (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2018)

69% of girls and young women aged 7-21 feel like they are not good enough (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2016)

We believe that more must be done to support girls with their mental health and wellbeing. Our research shows that girls and young women face particular pressures that impact on their wellbeing, and that their wellbeing has declined in recent years. It also shows that girls’ wellbeing decreases as they get older. Worryingly, many girls do not feel able to talk about their feelings or ask for help.

What we’re doing: Link to relevant badges in programme, what else?


A curriculum that meets the needs of girls

(Improving young people’s understanding of sexual consent) will make young people feel less vulnerable. As a young person I hear of too many situations where people don't understand the concept of consent and it causes distress purely from ignorance.” - Girl aged 17–21

69% of girls and young women aged 11-21 think the Government should make menstrual products available for free to young people who can’t afford them. (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2018 

81% of girls aged 11-21 say the government should ensure that PSHE is taught in all schools (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2016)

We believe age-appropriate Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) is essential to equip young people with the tools they need to make informed decisions and stay safe. This should be available to all young people and cover sexual consent, online safety, tackling VAWG, and LGBTQ+ and healthy relationships.

We are delighted that the Government’s amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill makes RSE a statutory duty for all schools in England.

We believe all children and young people should receive support at school for their emotional as well as their physical wellbeing, through statutory PSHE. Thisshould support young people to build resilience and learn about gender equality, body confidence and challenge sexism, narrow beauty ideals and sexual harassment and abuse.

We were pleased to hear that the Government will make PSHE statutory in the future. We are keen to see this happen quickly and effectively

What we’re doing: Link to our campaign


Period poverty and shame

Do we have some quotes for this from Advocates?

We’re now calling for:

1: Governments across the UK to provide dedicated funding for schools, colleges and universities to provide period products to pupils and students who need them.

2: We’re asking Girlguiding members and supporters across the country to take our pledge to talk openly about periods so that no one feels embarrassed or ashamed about periods.

3: All pupils should receive the same information about periods in schools, and what to expect in puberty must be part of the new comprehensive relationships and sex education (RSE) school curriculum in England. We’re are also continuing to work with parliaments in devolved nations to improve information about periods.


What we’re doing: Link to campaign page

Girls online

“All forms of abuse online are increasingly widespread and it seems as though, online, people can intimidate and manipulate others in a way that they would never do in real life.” - Girl aged 14-21

 “I think one of the main issues for girls and young women is distinguishing between reality and the internet. On social media, it’s easy to believe that everyone is living a "perfect life"… I know this is not the case, but many girls have anxiety stemming from this. This needs to be tackled through better education delivered to girls through schools and workshops – for example, through Relationships and Sex Education (RSE).” - Izzy, Advocate, 15

47% of girls and young women aged 11-21 had had unkind things said about them on social media (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2018)

54% of girls aged 11-21 have come across unwanted violent or graphic images online that made them feel disturbed or upset (Girls’ Attitudes Survey, 2017)  

46% of girls aged 13-21 agree social media empowers them to speak out about things they care about (Girls’ attitudes Survey, 2016)

We believe steps must be taken to protect people from experiencing harassment and abuse online. Our research tells us this is an issue that particularly affects girls and young women, many of whom have experienced online intimidation and harassment.

We support measures to enable girls and young women to use the internet freely, safely and without fear. We believe social media platforms must take greater responsibility to protect users of their platforms. Girls tell us that the internet and social media also empower them to speak out on their views. Actions to tackle online harassment and abuse should involve young people and be realistic about the realities of young people’s lives today.

What we’re doing: ?