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. We also suggest you conduct a few face-to-face interviews yourself to connect with their needs and attitudes. Consulting with girls in your programmes is essential to shaping an offer which meets their needs. By doing this there is a higher probability that girls will take up and keep coming back to your activities.
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 2017/18
This report from Sport England provides comprehensive insight into how children are taking part in sport and physical activity, both in and out of school. It surveyed over 130,000 children aged 5-16 in England and found a gender divide, with girls being less physically active than boys.
Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2018
This latest research from Girlguiding’s annual attitudes survey offers insight into how girls and young women feel about their everyday lives and compares how attitudes have changed over the last 10 years. It surveyed 1,903 girls and young women, both within and outside of Girlguiding. Previous attitude surveys can be found here.
The Good Childhood Report 2018 Summary
This research from The Children’s Society paints the current national picture of children’s subjective well-being, using the latest statistics and trend data. With a focus on gender, it highlights a number of disparities; girls are unhappier with their lives, more likely to have depression, and twice as likely to self-harm as boys. The full report can be found here.
Why Should Girls Do Sport? (Infographics)
Key stats illustrating the problems girls face in their broader lives.
Only 18% of girls say they are ‘very happy’ compared to 38% in 2011 (Girlguiding, 2018)
1/3 of girls aged 14-16 are unhappy with their body image (Women in Sport and Youth Sport Trust, 2017)
60% of girls 11-16 know a girl or young women who has experienced a mental health problem (Girlguiding, 2018)
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.
Puberty & Sport: An Invisible Stage – Research Report
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.
Active Lives Children and Young People’s Survey – Attitudes towards Sport and Physical Activity, Academic Year 2017/18
New insight from Sport England into the attitudes of children towards sport and physical activity, with enjoyment being the single biggest factor in motivating children to be more active. However, girls are less likely than boys to say they enjoy or feel confident about doing sport and physical activity.
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 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
A report which pulls together existing and new analysis, as well as new research on Generation Z (those aged 22 and under) to understand how they compare to previous generations.