Plan International UK report: The state of girls’ rights in the UK

Girls continue to face very real threats to their safety in public, sexism in school, and a lack of control of their bodies – and their experiences are still not being listened to.

This is according to a January 2020 report from Plan International UK on the state of girls’ rights in the UK.

The report also finds that:

  • Many girls express experiences of relentless street harassment and changing behaviour to avoid being targeted, thus safety remains a concern for girls across the country. The report points out the need for girls to have their own spaces and leisure facilities in their local area.
  • In education, girls are outperforming boys in educational attainment. However, girls are still subject to sexism and harassment in school, which is impacting their future.
  • Social media plays a significant role in girls’ lives, as it is attributed to rising mental health issues such as anxiety, low self-esteem, loneliness and depression. In general, mental health is at a critical point in the UK, though many girls highlight how girls’ mental health is trivialised, dismissed and minimised.
  • Girls of colour face distinct barriers to their rights and further marginalisation. They express facing racism in a plurality of forms, including unconscious bias, microaggressions, colourism, overt racism and systematic inequality.
  • A culture of stigma and silence around periods has turned menstruation into a hidden public health issue, putting girls’ physical and mental health at risk.

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