A new report produced by the University of Hull and the charity Plan UK has revealed the best and worst places for girls to grow up in the UK.
The research looked at average life expectancy, child-poverty rates, teenage-pregnancy rates, education and employment. It concluded that girls had a better quality of life in affluent areas like Surrey than in inner-city areas like Liverpool or Nottingham. ‘Overall, the UK is failing girls’, says Lucy Russell, one of the authors of the report. ‘Girls don’t have equal rights and equal life chances across the UK.’
Interestingly, the report did not include information on boys’ quality of life. The report claims it is ‘unapologetic in its focus on girls and their lives’. But it is still ignoring the elephant in the room. The fact that girls in Waverley enjoy higher quality of life than those in Salford has nothing to do with the fact that they’re girls and everything to do with the fact that, in comparison, Salford is a much poorer, working-class area.
Indeed, the researchers seem to be well aware that their stats alone don’t point to any clear gender disparity. So, in order to make up for this, they’ve conducted interviews with 103 girls about their life experiences. The authors conclude: ‘Girls are facing daily harassment in school, in the classroom and on the way to and from school. They need to use technology, but they don’t always feel safe to do that. They’re scared every day on the street.’ Based on a few conversations with a few young girls, Plan UK is claiming that there is real gender inequality in Britain today.
This is absolute nonsense. As spiked has often argued, girls in the UK have never had it so good. The old barriers are gone: it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex, and society’s view of women’s freedom and capabilities has changed enormously over the past few decades.