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Girls rights in the UK

Girls from our State of Girls' Rights in the UK report 2020

Girls’ rights in the UK

From Blackpool to Bromley, UK girls have had enough of the lack of progress on gender equality.

Because I am a Girl

We know that girls’ rights are global. Wherever in the world a girl is born or lives, she should be safe, free from abuse, and have equal rights. That’s why, in 2016, we published our first ground-breaking report on the state of girls’ rights in the UK.

It revealed that, despite living in one of the richest countries in the world, girls across the UK were being denied their rights. Now, at the turn of the decade, our latest research shows the true extent of gender inequality in the UK. 

Our second report, The State of Girls’ Rights in the UK 2019 - 2020, shows that girls are ‘fed up and frustrated’ with the lack of progress on gender equality, while our latest insights into the experiences of girls growing up in Wales show their rights are still not being met.

Rachel, 15, from Northern Ireland

The State of Girls’ Rights in the UK 2020

“There could be a guy beside me, not working nearly as hard, he’s going to get the exact same rewards.” – Rachel, 15, Northern Ireland 

Our 2020 report reflects the experiences of girls growing up in the UK. We listened to girls and, right across the country, they’re saying loud and clear that their rights aren’t being met. 

Our research also reveals that outcomes for girls vary dramatically depending on where they live, with Blackpool being the toughest place to be a girl in the UK today.

“If you rewind 100 years or 50 years, there weren’t women in science. And so for me, science is just about getting everyone involved.” – Iman, 15, Vice-President for the day at AstraZeneca UK



Girls are taking over on International Day of the Girl – taking over the boardroom, the stereotypes that hold them back, and their futures. And we’re standing with them. 

Plan International UK is looking for girls and young women to take over leadership positions in business, politics or media to champion gender equality, better representation and the potential of girls.  

Are you passionate about a girl’s right to participate, be actively listened to and influence decision-making? Do you want to help address the barriers and challenge the stereotypes faced by girls? If yes, we want to hear from you! 

Olamide, 17, from London
“We still are fighting against expectations of, for a girl specifically, getting married, having children. What if someone doesn't want to have children?” – Olamide, 17, London

Transforming girls’ rights in the UK

We’re calling on the UK Government to bring a new focus to girls’ rights. In order to tackle the key issues raised in our 2020 report, we’ve created a list of top priorities for girls in the UK. We must:

  • make all places safe for girls – without exceptions
  • remodel girls’ experience of education
  • raise girls’ voices
  • stop controlling girls’ bodies
  • gather better data on girls’ rights and lives
  • advance the rights of all girls.

We’re also asking for gender champions to be appointed at national, devolved and local levels, to help deliver gender equality across the UK. 

Photo of a girl standing in a doorway


In 2018, we launched our Champions of Wales programme, where girls told us clearly that their rights were not being met – views that were shared by girls across the country in our 2019-20 report, The State of Girls’ Rights in the UK.

Following on from our UK research, we’ve taken an in-depth look at some of the experiences of girls growing up in Wales. Now our Wales Insights Report offers the most comprehensive research into the state of girls’ rights in Wales. 

Stand with girls in the UK

Join our Because I am a Girl campaign


Locked out

It’s time to stop locking girls out of school toilets when they have their period.

A photo of a girl using her mobile phone


Girls have the right to be online and express their views safely. But what should be an empowering space can quickly become threatening. Not only are girls facing immense pressure in the digital world, they’re also more at risk of harassment, abuse and being pressured into sending explicit images than their male counterparts. 

As a result, girls are censoring what they say and in some cases withdrawing from the digital space altogether – losing their voice online. That’s why we’re calling for change at an international level, to recognise girls’ digital experiences and their right to be online.

A girl from our Champions of Wales programme

Our work in the UK

Despite the challenges facing girls across the UK today, our research shows that – when girls’ voices are strengthened and they’re given the power to lead – they can challenge the systems of inequality and create long-lasting change. 

That’s why we’re connecting girls across the country with their rights through campaigning and by setting up our first UK programmes, working with girls to tackle period poverty, change perceptions and attitudes towards girls and create a safe space for girls online. 

We also work closely with the Youth Advisory Panel. Together, they provide a youth perspective on all our work, ensuring children are at the heart of our campaigning and everything we do. 

Our UK reports

Because I am a Girl

Join the fight for equal rights