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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Girls most affected by current crisis new research reveals

This news post is 10 months old

Girls worry about their families getting through financial pressures

Spiraling living costs are eroding the happiness and wellbeing of girls in the UK.

A Girlguiding and People's Postcode Lottery survey shows three quarters of girls said they are worried by the crisis, with those aged 7-21 worrying their family will not have enough food to live off.

Disabled girls have greater worries with 40% of disabled 11–21-year-old girls saying they worry all the time about themselves or their families not having enough money, compared to 26% of girls the same age, who are not disabled.  

The new research also highlights how the cost of living crisis is weighing just as heavily on younger girls’ minds, with one in three aged 7–10-year-olds disclosing they try not to ask their parents for pocket money or to go on school trips.

When asked, 40% of all girls (7-21 years) said they have heard their parents or carers talk about the need to cut back on certain things to save money. 

Two in five (43%) of older girls and young women aged 11-21 say they are spending less money on things they enjoy, such as travel, books and leisure activities because they’re worried about money. The research shows this is more likely to be the case for disabled girls (60% compared to 40% of girls who are not disabled).  

When looking to their futures, almost half (47%) of girls aged 11-21 are concerned their opportunities are worse now than they were six months ago. For girls that identify as LGBTQ+ this was more likely (59% versus 43%).  

Molly, 20, Girlguiding advocate said: “Sadly I wasn't surprised to learn that the cost of living crisis is creating even more worries for girls. What really hit home for me was the negative outlook so many girls had about their future opportunities. It's so sad to think that almost half of girls are spending less money on things they enjoy because they’re worried about money.”   

Angela Salt, Girlguiding’s chief executive, said: “The mental toll the cost of living crisis is having on girls in the UK is concerning. Our research shows just how these worries impact their day-to-day lives, with girls concerned over access to basic necessities like food and period products. 

“For the majority of girls, instead of looking to the future with hope and excitement they fear debt, not being able to get a job, afford rent, university or ever owning their own home.  

“Girls need spaces like Girlguiding, away from these pressures, where they can have fun, try new things but also feel empowered to voice their concerns in a safe and supportive environment. As a charity we are passionate about ensuring guiding is accessible and affordable to all girls and are constantly looking at new ways to ensure cost is never a barrier. We are very grateful for the funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery for helping us to provide this.”  

Tracy Foster, chief guide said: “It is shocking how many girls are feeling the strain of the cost of living crisis. As an organisation, Girlguiding is taking steps to remain affordable. From grants to advising local leaders on cost effective activities and trips to uniform banks, guiding is working to stay accessible for all girls. All girls should be provided with opportunities to fulfil their potential, no matter their finances.”   

Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “The increased cost of living is only adding to the ever-mounting list of worries and pressures faced by girls. The space and support Girlguiding provides its young members has never been more vital.  I'm delighted that funding raised by players across Britain enables Girlguiding to continue providing an accessible, happy, welcoming environment for all girls to find new friendships, explore and have fun trying new things."   

To help support girls and their families already in guiding, or considering joining, Girlguiding is taking steps to ensure the organisation is accessible and affordable during the current crisis for parents and their girls. These include supporting Girlguiding units to access internal and external grants and advising volunteers on ways to support existing and future members from cost effective trip and activity ideas, to uniform banks and available funding.  

As the UK’s largest youth organisation dedicated completely to girls, Girlguiding also works with decision makers, funders and other stakeholders across society to help tackle the undue pressures girls and young women face, including the current cost of living crisis. Since 2018, Girlguiding has campaigned to end period poverty and period stigma in the UK.

Over the past couple of years, the organisation has called for the Government’s period products scheme in schools and colleges to be evaluated and improvements made after research found girls were unable to access products freely, if at all, without the stigma, or feeling embarrassed or ashamed.  

Girlguiding’s full Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2023 will be released in September. To mark 15 years of publication, the research will explore how girls’ lives have changed over the years since the first annual survey in 2009 and highlight the issues girls face today.