Understanding teenage girls
Understanding the challenge
This section will provide you with a wealth of background understanding on teenage girls’ lives, so you can understand not only their relationship with sport and physical activity, but also the wider issues they are facing and gain insight into what is important to them more broadly in their world. You will be able to access up-to-date statistics on behaviours and attitudes, understand more about the impact of puberty on sport, as well as hearing from girls talking about sport and their lives, first hand.
Before embarking on development of new ideas we recommend you use these resources to help immerse stakeholders and decision-makers in the world of teenage girls and their relationship with sport.
1. THE CHALLENGE
Here we provide you with links to and references from various different published reports, which examine important aspects of this life-stage for teenage girls from health and wellbeing, to body image and confidence.
Active Lives Children and Young People’s Survey, Academic Year 2019/20 (Sport England, 2021)
This report from Sport England provides comprehensive insight into how children aged 5-16 are taking part in sport and physical activity, both in and out of school. The findings show that girls are less physically active than boys and are significantly less likely to enjoy being active, and to feel less confident taking part. This report should be read in conjunction with Sport England’s coronavirus report below.
Active Lives Children and Young People Survey Coronavirus (Covid-19) Report – Mid May to Late-July 2020 (summer term)
A report focusing on children’s activity levels in the summer term, during the second phase of the Covid-19 pandemic when restrictions started to ease.
Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2021 (Girlguiding UK, 2021)
This latest research from Girlguiding’s annual attitudes survey asked over 2,000 girls and young women aged 7-21, both inside and outside Girlguiding, how they feel about the specific and emerging pressures facing them today, and the implications of this for their happiness, wellbeing and opportunities in life. Previous surveys dating back to 2013 can be found on the Girlguiding website.
The Good Childhood Report 2021 (The Children’s Society, 2021)
This is the tenth report from The Children’s Society which paints the current national picture of children’s subjective well-being, using the latest comprehensive statistics and trend data. It highlights significant gender differences in several aspects of wellbeing.
2. ATTITUDES TOWARDS SPORT
These films provide you with an understanding of the challenges faced directly from the girls themselves and enable you to view the problem through their eyes. These films are very useful resources to help others connect with the target group and we would recommend using these to set the scene for your audience before developing programmes and seeking solutions.
Reframing Sport for Teenage Girls – Girls tell us how they feel about sport
Teenage girls tell us how they feel about sport and the barriers they face.
Puberty & Sport: An Invisible Stage – Sport changes
Girls talk about how sport changed for them as they get older.
Puberty & Sport: An Invisible Stage – Under pressure
Girls talk about the increased pressure and scrutiny they feel during puberty.
Puberty & Sport: An Invisible Stage – A day in the life of puberty and periods
An animation created from girls telling us how they feel on a typical day when dealing with puberty and periods.
Research Report – Puberty & Sport: An Invisible Stage (Women in Sport, 2018)
Women in Sport’s research on the impact of puberty on girls’ relationship with sport and physical activity and the key barriers to sport during this time.
3. GIRLS LIVES – THEIR WORLD
Here we provide insight from our recent ethnographic online community, which provides a glimpse into the important aspects of girls’ everyday lives, and key resources which offer a broader understanding of this generation of teenage girls.
What Really Matters in Girls’ Lives?
Five important anchors from our Reframing Sport for Teenage Girls research which reflect what teenage girls’ value most in their lives. These uncover valuable parallels where girls are motivated, committed and engaged in other areas of life, which could be applied to sport and physical activity.
IPSOS Thinks Beyond Binary – The Lives & Choices of Generation Z (IPSOS Mori, 2018)
This report pulls together existing and new analysis, as well as new research on the latest ‘Generation Z’, to understand how they compare to previous generations, which can help us to better understand and engage with them.
The State of Girls’ Rights in the UK 2019-2020 (Plan International UK, 2020)
Following on from their 2016 report on girls’ rights in the UK, this latest report uses a mixed methodological approach to provide a broad assessment of girls’ lives in the UK, with a primary focus on qualitative research with girls aged 10-25 to hear their voices.