Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

These are the best and worst places to be born a girl in England and Wales

blackpool-worst-place-girl-england-wales-study.jpg

Middlesborough, Blackpool and Manchester are the worst areas to be born a girl in England and Wales, while Waverley in Surrey is the best.

That’s according to a new report, which ranked the best and worst places to be a girl in England and Wales – and showed that where a girl is born can have a profound impact on her quality of life.

The study, produced by Plan International UK in collaboration with the University of Hull, analysed data from local authorities across England and Wales. Researchers also conducted interviews with over 100 girls and young women to try and gain a clearer picture of the issues affecting girls today.

They discovered a stark geographic divide. The south-east of England, particularly Surrey, performs the best, while inner-city areas tend to perform poorly. 

The 10 worst local authority areas to be a girl in England and Wales

  1. Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire
  2. Blackpool, Lancashire
  3. Manchester
  4. Nottingham
  5. Liverpool
  6. Knowsley, Merseyside
  7. Hastings, East Sussex
  8. Kingston upon Hull
  9. Salford, Greater Manchester
  10. Sandwell, West Midlands
haslemere

Haslemere, Surrey: local authority areas in the county scored highly for girls' quality of life.

The 10 best local authority areas to be a girl in England and Wales

  1. Waverley, Surrey
  2. Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire
  3. Chiltern, Buckinghamshire
  4. Mole Valley, Surrey
  5. Epsom and Ewell, Surrey
  6. Rutland, East Midlands
  7. Elmbridge, Surrey
  8. Wokingham, Berkshire
  9. St Albans, Hertfordshire
  10. East Hertforshire
teenage-pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy rates were used in the report to measure girls' quality of life in England and Wales.

How can they tell?

Researchers assessed girls’ quality of life by comparing all local authority areas in England and Wales. They were looking at five points: childhood poverty levels, life expectancy, teenage conception rates, GCSE results and the percentage of girls under 18 not in employment, education or training.

It was found that girls experience major discrepancies in quality of life depending on where they live.


Read more: Schoolgirl hits back at sexist uniform critics in viral video


Girls born between 2012 and 2014 in Chiltern in Buckinghamshire, for example, have a life expectancy of 86.7 years. In contrast, girls born during the same time period in Middlesbrough can only expect to live to 79.8 on average.

Teenage pregnancy rates also change drastically as you move around the country. In Tamworth in Staffordshire, more than 40 girls out of every 1,000 aged under 18 became pregnant in 2013. That figure was just 7.6 per 1,000 in St Albans in Hertfordshire.

“Our research found that overall the UK is failing girls,” said Lucy Russell, the UK girls’ rights campaign manager for Plan International UK and lead author on the study. “It’s clear that despite being one of the richest, most developed countries in the world, girls don’t have equal rights and equal life chances across the UK.”

school

Gender stereotyping and sexual harassment at school are just some of the problems faced by girls.

Some issues facing girls today, such as regional poverty, are measurable – but Russell said that other serious problems are less quantifiable, from gender stereotyping at school to sexual and online harassment.

However, Russell said that the girls interviewed for the report had been clear about the problems they faced.


Read more: "Compulsory sex education is a vital tool for the feminist movement"


“What we’ve heard from girls in our research is that girls are facing daily harassment in school – in the classroom and on the way to and from school,” she says.

“They need to use technology, but they don’t always feel safe to do that. They’re scared every day on the street, they have certain things they don’t do and places they don’t go.” 

sexual-harassment-texting-online

Sexual harassment via technology is a major issue facing girls in the UK today.

Research published in August showed that the number of sex offences in schools being reported to police has almost trebled in four years. More than 20% of British women say that they experienced sexual assault or harassment at school, while a report published by the Terrence Higgins Trust in July highlighted that sex and relationships education is still inadequate or absent in many schools.

Plan International UK is calling for girls’ committees to be set up in schools, mandatory sex and relationship education, and more cross-department government working to address the problems highlighted in the report.

A spokesperson for the government says: “We are committed to building a country that works for everyone – no girl should be held back in life just because of her gender or where she lives.”

Images: iStock

Related

it happened.jpg

Powerful photos depicting true stories of rape survivors go viral

aunt1_rt.jpg

Why are women still writing to agony aunts?

girl.JPG

Teenage girls triumph after protesting school's racist hair policy

iStock_79197445_LARGE.jpg

Why are British teenage girls becoming more unhappy?

school 1.jpg

Stop telling schoolgirls that their uniforms are "distracting"

cariss.JPG

Six-year-old girl is finally allowed to wear trousers to school

More

Get free tickets to see Call Me By Your Name

17 Oct 2017

“In defence of birthdays: why we should celebrate each and every year”

Writer Kate Townshend on why birthday parties shouldn’t be sacrificed on the altar of adulthood

17 Oct 2017

Life can be ‘torturous’ for a sex addict, according to an expert

“It sounds like fun... that couldn’t be further from the truth”

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017

Why you should wear red if you want to succeed

From ancient history to modern catwalks, why are we all so obsessed with red?

by Alexandra Jones
17 Oct 2017

These are the world’s best and worst major cities to live as a woman

London makes the list – and it’s not all bad news for the capital

by Moya Crockett
17 Oct 2017

Your Starbucks Halloween Frappuccino fix is here and it’s fangtastic

Sink your teeth into this

by Megan Murray
17 Oct 2017

This Princess Bride revelation will make you see the film in a new way

It’s been 30 years since it hit the big screen

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017

Hold up, there's an avocado chocolate bar – AND it’s vegan

Don't fight it

by Megan Murray
17 Oct 2017

What is perspecticide and could it be happening in your relationship?

This form of coercive control is incredibly damaging

by Megan Murray
16 Oct 2017