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Girls Speak Out


Girls Speak Out: A four-country survey of young women's attitudes and recommendations for action

Following the publication of the Hear Our Voices report in 2014, Plan International’s thinking began to focus on the clear need to examine adolescent girls’ suggestions for improvements to their lives and how girls themselves would deal with barriers to equality, including the issues of gender violence and early pregnancy.

In 2015 Plan International commissioned Ipsos MORI to undertake a study which aimed to consult with adolescent girls to explore their own priorities and attitudes, identify recommendations for change, and understand who they thought should be responsible for implementing these changes. The results are charted and analysed in this report.

As part of the research, a total of 4,218 interviews were conducted with girls aged 15-19 across Ecuador (1,000), Nicaragua (1,000), Pakistan (1,018) and Zimbabwe (1,200). 

The research found that only 34% of girls in the target countries 'often' or 'always' make decisions about their own lives and that while the majority believe parents encourage them to succeed at school just as much as boys, a significant minority feel that girls are ‘seldom’ or ‘never’ given as many opportunities as boys to get on in life. Among other key findings within the report, the vast majority of girls reject the 'benefits' of early marriage and the notion that violence and abuse from a teacher is acceptable.