In September, Girlguiding published the 15th annual Girls’ Attitudes Survey, the UK’s largest survey of girls and young women aged 7-21.
Reading the report, I was moved by the issues that are important to girls and young women, as well as their experiences growing up across the UK.
Almost 9 in 10 of those taking place in the survey agree that we all have a responsibility to save energy and reduce waste to protect the environment. Sixty-five percent of girls and young women aged 11-21 are angry that adults have damaged the environment, and their generation will have to deal with this. This is compared to 38% who thought this in 2018.
The climate emergency and taking action on climate, is clearly a priority for our younger generation and they are right that it should not be left to them to pick up the pieces. The evidence couldn’t be any clearer on the importance of urgent action.
The fact that the Prime Minister has instead chosen to roll back policies which will help us reach net zero by 2030, is hugely frustrating and disappointing.
Young people are worried about the effects of climate change, that government is not taking enough action to tackle the climate crisis and that their will be too much responsibility on young people to solve the climate crisis.
Rishi Sunak is pandering to a vocal minority of Tories, who are promoting inaction on climate change, when we know that action is urgently needed.
I was also struck by the worrying changes in girls and young women’s experiences, compared to previous Girls’ Attitudes Survey.
Fewer girls say they are feeling happy, with almost 90% of those surveyed saying they feel generally worried or anxious. Shockingly, 8 out of 10 girls and young women aged 11-21 have experienced some form of threatening or upsetting behaviour online.
The cost-of-living crisis is also having an impact, with three-quarters of girls worried about the increased cost of living. This includes 1 in 5 girls and young women aged 11-21, who are worried about having enough money to buy period products or period pain medication.
Period products are not a luxury, which is why steps like the Welsh Government’s funding of free period products for schools in Wales is so important.