This week’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey by Girlguiding UK paints a sobering picture of the challenges faced by girls and young women. The decline in happiness levels, increasing concerns about body image, online harassment, and a sense of environmental urgency are all issues that demand our attention. Amid the gloom, there is one positive: the increase in activism among young girls and women which shows the vital role of social action in not only addressing societal challenges, but also in enhancing personal wellbeing.

In 2018, to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage, and in response to a previous Girlguiding poll which showed that 69% of girls felt like they were ‘not good enough’, we launched EmpowHER with #iWill, a programme designed to inspire and support girls and young women to use their voices for positive change, just as their ancestors had 100 years before them.

Through face-to-face activity sessions, participants delved into themes of individual rights, empowerment, resilience, and the stories of inspirational women in history. programme focused on providing inclusive and meaningful social action opportunities.

Of the 2,000 girls and young women who took part, 63% reported an improvement in their overall wellbeing, 68% experienced a boost in confidence, and 62% felt a greater sense of social cohesion[1]. The effect on wellbeing was three times stronger for those young women and girls who started the programme with low wellbeing. These results affirm the potential for positive change when we invest in the empowerment of young women.

Girlguiding’s survey serves as a powerful reminder that there is much work to be done. Our evidence shows that when young women and girls are given the tools and support to take the lead on action in their communities, they improve their wellbeing, confidence and feelings of having a stake in society. We believe that government and other funders should look towards social action as part of the solution.

Read and download the full EmpowHER evaluation report here:

Find out more about the EmpowHER programme:

Visit UK Youth website:

[1] Pre/post measurement of feeling accepted by others, feeling trust in people who live near me and often meeting people who are different to me