Report: Plan International finds 1 in 3 girls said they never speak up in front of boys


In their latest report, “Hear Our Voices: Do Adolescent Girls really Matter?”, Plan International spoke directly with over 7,000 adolescent girls and boys (aged 12-16) in 11 countries across four regions; namely Asia (Bangladesh, Pakistan), Latin America (Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay), Eastern/Southern Africa (Egypt, Uganda, Zimbabwe) and West Africa (Benin, Cameroon and Liberia).

This is one of the largest studies of adolescent girls’ rights and empowerment that any organisation in the development sector has ever undertaken and the results bring an amazing insight into what it means to be a teenage girl in the developing world.

They found that girls feel encouraged and empowered to succeed in school (including- or perhaps especially the girls whose mothers have been denied education while they were young); 70% of the interviewed girls and 69% of boys report that adolescent girls ‘always’ or ‘often’ participate in class as often as boys; although, particularly in Asia, social norms around gender and seniority still prevent young female students from directly addressing the mostly male teachers.

Obvious progress is being made (due to changing social norms and mentalities, civil society programmes) as far as ensuring girls themselves, their parents and communities value the idea of girls achieving academically and professionally.

On the other hand, the burden of housework still falls almost exclusively with girls and women; and household work takes time away from studying

More worrying, over half of the girls in the study feel that becoming pregnant is never or seldom their decision; and only 38% feel that they have decisional power over getting married. Girls in Latin America and Southern/Eastern Africa feel the most empowered in relation to decisions about marriage: 53% feel that it is always or often their decision whether and when they get married.In contrast, in Asia, 69% of girls said they ‘never’ or ‘seldom’ control decisions about their marriage.

Girls feel even less empowered about pregnancy: 71 per cent of girls in West Africa, 55 per cent of girls in Asia, 48 per cent of girls in East and Southern Africa , and 42 per cent of girls in Central and South America reported they ‘never’ or‘seldom’ decide if they get pregnant. Girls across all regions said they are not educated about safe sex nor do they know how to prevent pregnancy Continue reading

Interesting data: the OECD Teaching and Learning International survey (and a handy tool for visualising it).


For those of you interested in comparative research, I have just found via the Guardian’s Data Blog a fairly useful toy, that helps you visualise data across OECD/G20 countries and more; on topics including education, employment, migration, quality of life, poverty/inequality and others. It’s called Compare Your Country and can be found here.

The Guardian’s Sarah Marsh uses it to look at data from the Teaching and Learning International survey. As an exercise in sociological imagination, I took the opportunity to play with the data a little bit more.

According to their web page, TALIS is the first international survey programme to focus on the learning environment and the working conditions of teachers in schools. 31 countries- including the UK for the first time- have been surveyed in 2013, and the results can be found here. (It can also be embedded into websites; unfortunately WordPress won’t let me do this).


Simply select the country you are interested in to compare it with the OECD average:

cyc1Teachers in the UK, for instance, are younger, more likely to have tertiary education and teaching training; but have less years of teacher training behind them.

Continue reading