One in four girls “don’t feel safe playing outside”

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Campaigner warns of "gender play gap" after publication of Girlguiding study.

21st August 2019 by Gavin Stuart 1 Comment

A quarter of girls aged seven to 10 do not play outside because they don’t feel safe, according to new research from Girlguiding.

The study of more than 2000 girls and young women also found that one in five are not allowed to play outside, leading one campaigner to claim that the UK has a “gender play gap”.

Almost half (47%) of girls questioned do not have access to a playground, one in three are unable to easily access a park and 15% said there was nothing to do outside in their area.

In the wake of the survey’s publication, Girlguiding is calling for the creation of more play areas as well as cleaner parks and safer road crossings.

Madison, 24, who is a member of Girlguiding’s Advocate panel, said: “It is shocking that so many girls are unable to easily access a playground. Play for young girls shouldn’t be a privilege for just some to enjoy. It is a vital part of growing up, helps girls learn and, most importantly, have fun.

“More needs to be done to ensure parks and playgrounds are clean, accessible and most importantly safe. Accessible play areas give girls the chance to try new things and explore, as well as develop key life skills, make new friends, be part of the community and challenge themselves.”

Girlguiding ambassador and global adventurer Anna McNuff is currently running the equivalent of 100 marathons barefoot across the UK. She is speaking to thousands of girls in guiding along the way, encouraging them to embrace adventure and the outdoors life.

“It is shocking that a quarter of young girls do not feel safe playing outdoors,” she said.

“This means that as they get older, they may feel that being outdoors and having adventures is simply not for them.

“It’s a gender play gap and it’s starting at a young age.”

Anna said her challenge, Barefoot Britain, aims to “show girls all over the UK that being a girl is not a barrier to having adventure”.

She added: “If we can make sure that all girls feel safe playing outside and that all girls can easily access playgrounds, we can ensure that all girls feel adventure is for them too.”

A total of 2,118 girls and young women aged between 7 and 21 across the UK took part in the survey. Questions were adapted to be suitable for three separate age groups.

26th August 2019 by Robert McIntosh

Sadly this does not surprise me but I would be VERY wary of drawing ANY conclusions from this study. Has anybody actually looked at the figures of girls coming to harm whilst playing outside? My bet is that these figures are more about overly protective parents etc. making the girls feel 'unsafe' if out of their house; very similar to how many 'grannies' become housebound because the media hype of any incident makes these grannies believe that they will be mugged as soon as they step over their doorstep. Maybe the Girlguiding Advocates should concentrate their efforts on making parents/guardians more aware of how safe most outdoor activities actually are rather than condoning the 'bogeyman' at every turn myth.