Great Yarmouth and Norwich named among the worst places to be a girl in East of England

Mother and daughter. Photo: Larisa Lofitskaya

Mother and daughter. Photo: Larisa Lofitskaya - Credit: PA

A new study by children's charity, Plan International UK, has ranked the best and worst areas to be a girl in the East of England.

Peterborough was found to be the worst place to be a girl in the East, with Great Yarmouth coming in a close second and Norwich ranked as third.

Ipswich and Tendring came in joint fourth place, while St Albans was thought to be the best area for girls in the East of England.

Five key indicators were used to produce these results, with the areas being ranked according to child poverty, female life expectancy, teenage pregnancy, girls' GCSE results and the number of girls Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETs).

Kerry Smith, Head of Girls' Rights at Plan International UK, said: 'While there is a mixed picture across the region, it's clear that many girls in the East of England are experiencing real challenges in terms of their education and health, and despite living in one of the most developed countries on earth, too many girls in the UK don't enjoy their rights.'

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The report is being launched as part of the charity's flagship Because I am a Girl campaign which aims to tackle gender inequality.

'The picture in the East of England is replicating what we are seeing nationally, with stark variations between different authorities,' says Smith.

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She added: 'Even within the region, our study shows that a girl's life chances are strongly tied to where she lives.'

Various interviews with girls across the UK were also conducted by the charity to highlight the discrimination, harassment, abuse and expectations girls struggle with daily.

To combat these issues, Plan International UK are suggesting a six-point action plan in order to further girls' rights across the country. This action involves:

• Creating Girls Committees at local level to give them a platform to help improve their own lives.

• Mandatory sex and relationships education in schools, as part of a holistic approach to tackling gender inequality through education.

• Redoubling of efforts to end violence against girls, starting with a more joined up effort across government departments.

• Involving men and boys in the solutions for girls as much of the sexism, harassment and violence experienced by girls comes from their peers, while negative gender stereotypes affect boys too.

• Better data so that policymakers can find the right responses in the right areas to improve girls' lives.

• A cross-departmental UK Government delivery strategy for the SDGs, with a focus on how they are being met for girls in the UK.

Speaking of this plan, Smith said: 'Urgent action is needed at local and national level to improve girls' lives in the East of England. Only by breaking down these barriers will we truly deliver equality for girls.'

• What do you think of the findings? Let us know in the comments below.

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