Girls Matter Campaign

Posted on 16 September 2014

Girlguiding are asking politicians to listen to the voice of girls and young women in the lead-in to the May 2015 General Election, through the new Girls Matter campaign.

The campaign reflects Girlguiding’s research findings and consultation with thousands of girls and young women.  It showed that girls and young women have a lot to say about the sexism, harassment and abuse they experience in the classroom, online and on the street. As a result of these findings the Girls Matter campaign has set out eight changes that girls want politicians to make.

  1. Listen to girls and young women, take them seriously, and make sure their voices count
  2. Demand that schools take a zero-tolerance approach to sexual bullying and harassment
  3. Call on all schools to teach body confidence and gender equality
  4. Make girls’ rights a priority in the UK’s approach to international development
  5. Stop children’s exposure to harmful sexualised content in mainstream media
  6. Empower girls and young women to speak out and be heard on the impact of media sexism and stereotyping
  7. Modernise sex and relationships education so all young people can make informed decisions and stay safe
  8. Guarantee that women will be equally represented in parliament

As well as having to deal with these issues at school or on the street, many of these issues play out online. Sexual images that young women see online and offline change how they feel about themselves.  Many young women experience sexual bullying from peers and strangers online, and, in our work, we’ve heard from young people that “slut-shaming” online is now too common. All of this is not helped by the fact that for many young people, the sex and relationships education they receive in school is not fit for the digital age.

Pledge your support to help change things:

“Sexual harassment is a severe issue for girls, made even worse by social-media-based violence.” - Michaela, 17, Bexley, Girlguiding Advocate

“Constantly seeing airbrushed and sexualised images of women has an extremely negative effect on girls’ body confidence, and it affects how men and boys think too.” - Morgan, 16, Folkestone, Girlguiding Advocate


“We need to prepare children and teens for the challenges and joys of respectful relationships by debunking myths and having open and frank discussions about trust, consent, respect and equality, as well as “taboo” issues like pornography, online relationships and domestic violence that aren’t currently covered in lessons. The next government could take a positive step by making updated SRE compulsory.’ - Julia, 19, Ashby de la Zouch, Girlguiding Advocate


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