2022 has been a time of change for GFS, but even more importantly, it’s been a time of huge change for our girls.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed their needs and deepened social inequality, with girls and women experiencing some of the worst harm across communities
That means GFS has had to change too. Our programme needs to develop and grow alongside our girls. So, in 2022 we changed how we monitor programme and impact.
We brought in a new Programme and Impact Manager, coming to us directly from the role of Group Coordinator at GFS Anfield.
That means the work on our 2022 Girls Survey was carried out by someone with direct weekly experience in group with our girls.
This survey is designed to see how we’re impacting our girls, what we’re doing right, and help guide us to do even more.
It also gives us an insight into how our girls are fairing alongside national and international studies into the wellbeing of girls in the wake of the Pandemic.
What GFS girls had to say
1. I can speak up about things that matter to me
2. I am proud of who I am
3. I try again if I have a setback
4. I can try new or unfamiliar things
5. I believe I can achieve my hopes and dreams
6. I can enjoy friendships with all kinds of people
Then we asked them to tell us and whether they felt they had ‘got better’, ‘stayed the same’ or ‘got worse’ in each since joining their group.
Trying new things and making friends were the areas where girls reported the most improvements, with girls reporting the fewest improvements in trying again and speaking up.
Girls who were newer to GFS reported more improvements in trying new things, making friends, feeling proud, and believing they can achieve.
This suggests we’re having a positive impact on girls in these areas within a relatively short time (six months) after they join a group. Meanwhile, girls who have been at GFS for longer than six months reported slightly more improvements in trying again and speaking up.
This difference shows us that a longer period of engagement with GFS can support girls over time to experience positive changes in these areas.
For the majority of girls we work with (those aged 8 – 11), between 1/2 and 3/4 felt they had improved across all GFS Girl statements.
This age group generally reported more improvements in all areas than other age groups, with the exception of making friends and speaking up, where girls aged 12 and older reported the most improvements.
It is encouraging to see that we are also supporting older girls, who may be experiencing more challenges as they enter their teenage years, with key skills such as building relationships, communication, having a voice and feeling heard.
How long does it take to make an impact?
- We have a fairly immediate impact on girls within the first six months, with high numbers of ‘new’ girls reporting improvements in trying new things (81%), making friends (75%), believing they can achieve (73%) and feeling proud of who they are (66%).
- It takes longer for girls to develop skills in trying again and speaking up. Fewer new girls reported improvements in these areas (trying again: 46%, speaking up: 45%) compared to girls who have been coming to GFS for a sustained period of time (trying again: 55%, speaking up: 47%).
What difference did age make?
- Across all age groups, over 3/4s of girls reported improvements in trying new things.
- Across all age groups, over 2/3s of girls reported improvements in making friends.
- More girls aged 8 – 11 felt they had improved in this area than any other age group (76%).
- 3/4s of girls aged 8 – 11 reported improvements in believing they can achieve (74%).
- This was lower for other age groups (54% for girls under seven and 60% for girls aged 12+).
- Around half of younger girls (50%) and older girls (48%) reported improvements in feeling proud of who they are, compared to 68% of girls aged 8 – 11.
- Across all age groups, speaking up and trying again were the areas where fewest girls reported improvements.
- With speaking up, older girls reported the most improvements (48%) and younger girls reported the fewest improvements (42%).
- With trying again, girls aged 8 – 11 reported the most improvements (55%) and older girls reported the fewest improvements (40%).
Was there a difference between girls who had been with GFS for longer?
- On average, girls aged 8 – 11 who have been with GFS less than six months reported the most improvements across all statements (71%) followed by girls aged 12 and older, who have been with GFS longer than six months (65%)
- Older girls who have been at GFS longer than six months reported the most improvements in trying new things (89%), making friends (79%) and speaking up (61%).
- Girls aged 8 – 11 who’ve been at GFS less than six months the most improvements in feeling proud (76%) and believing they can achieve (85% – around 4 in 5 girls).
- Girls aged 8 – 11 who’ve been at GFS for longer than six months reported the most improvements in trying again (58%).
What the girls said
- 73% of written responses mentioned ‘happy’
- Around one in ten responses mentioned ‘proud’ (9%)
- Nearly half mentioned ‘fun’ (49%)
- One in three mentioned ‘friend/friends/friendship’ (33%)
- Just over a quarter (27%) mentioned either ‘activity/activities/’ (11%) or ‘games’ (16%)
- Around one in five (18%) mentioned ‘new’ e.g. doing new things or meeting new people
- Other interesting mentions were ‘crafts’ (8%), ‘girls’ (8%) and ‘be myself’ (4%)
- 6% of girls also referenced ‘getting out of the house’ or not being at home
But how do girls feel when they aren’t at GFS?
- 81% of girls said they always feel proud to be a girl
- 2/3s of girls (66%) said they are always happy with who they are
- 71% of girls aged over 12 feel their ideas are always important (compared to 51% of girls aged 8 – 11)
Despite improvements across the board, girls of all ages are still struggling when they’re outside of GFS. This is to be expected, as gender inequality, children’s mental health concerns, and income gaps are experiencing huge increases across the UK.
- Around 10% of girls never feel like they can set goals and achieve them
- Around 10% of girls never feel like their ideas are important
- 5% of girls feel they are never listened to
- Only 55% of girls feel they are always listened to
- 12% of girls feel like they can never talk about their feelings
- Only 42% of girls feel like they can always talk about their feeling
- Only 58% of girls feel like they can always be themselves
Despite improvements, girls continue reporting less confidence as they get older. These results are in line with wider social issues, demonstrating how gender inequality impacts girls the longer they are exposed to it.
80% of girls aged under 7 always feel happy with who they are, compared to just 50% of girls aged over 12
Around 2/3s (67%) of girls under 7 always feel like they can deal with problems compared to just 1/3 (36%) of girls over 12.72% of girls aged 8 to 11 feel they can always talk to new people, compared to only 56% of girls aged over 12.
Which girls answered the survey?
We received 125 responses (around 1/3 of active girls) from 12 groups (about 1/2 of all active groups).
54% of girls who responded had been at GFS less than six months and 46% had been at GFS for six months or longer.
38% of them had been at GFS for over a year.
Younger girls aged under seven made up 20% of respondents, as did older girls aged 12 and up. The remaining 60% of respondents were aged 8 – 11.
What do we plan to do with this data?
Use it to inform how we run our groups! Thanks to the outcome of this survey, we know which areas girls are doing best at already, as well as which ones they need additional support to thrive in.
That means we can better shape our programme to suit their needs overall.
- In the autumn term, we’ll be focusing on helping girls to try again when they have a setback by developing activities to improve resilience skills and emotional awareness
- In the spring term, we’ll look at how we can help girls to speak up – both inside and outside of GFS – and feel confident in using their voices to make change
- We will consider the questions we want to ask girls in 2023 to make sure our annual survey stays relevant and gives us more insight into how girls are feeling
- We are exploring how the experiences of GFS girls might compare to other girls, and boys, of a similar age to build a clearer picture of how we support different girls