1 in 4 UK Girls Have Avoided Leaving The House Due To Worries About Their Appearance

Plan International has released the results of a new survey – and The Body Shop is pledging money to help

body image young women and girls

by Hannah Banks-Walker |
Updated on

A new survey conducted by Plan International has revealed some shocking statistics relating to body image among young women and girls. The charity polled 1,000 14-21 year-olds and found that the majority (89%) feel pressure to fit an 'ideal' face and body type, while a quarter feel 'ashamed' or 'disgusted' about their own bodies. Sadly, a quarter also said that they had avoided leaving the house due to worries about their appearance, while one in six girls and young women in the UK have missed school or work for the same reason.

Released today, on International Day of The Girl, Plan International is hoping to use these findings to encourage society 'to recognise body image worries as a gender inequality issue that affects girls’ ability to reach their potential, above and beyond the harmful impact it has on their perception of the way they look. '

Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK said: 'These new statistics show this is having a frightening impact on [girls and young women's] futures, affecting their ability to take advantage of opportunities and, in some cases, preventing them from their basic rights to access education and earn a living.

'On International Day of the Girl, we want to send a clear message that society needs a makeover. Body images worries should not simply be a ‘normal’ part of growing up for girls. We need everyone to recognise this, listen to girls, and elevate their voices to create a society where girls have every chance to succeed.'

As part of its girls' rights programme, Plan International is launching Girls Out Loud - a 'safe, closed space on existing social media channels, moderated by Plan International, where girls can share and discuss the issues that matter to them, including body image.' This initiative will be supported by The Body Shop, which is donating £25,000 to the cause.

Worries over appearance can be easily dismissed. In this age of social media, we're all conditioned, in many ways, to respond to images in a certain way. Given that the Plan Intl survey also found that the top place where girls feel the ‘pressure to fit with an idea face and body type’ is public figures on Instagram, we must all be aware of the power of platforms like it. Social media can be a force for change – in a positive way – but it can also be a negative force in people's lives. It's important we all recognise that for some, issues relating to self-esteem can be genuinely debilitating.

You can read more about Plan International's survey and the results here__.

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