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New report outlines evidence of wellbeing gender gap

A growing body of evidence points to a wellbeing gender gap in children and young people.

Commissioner for Children and Young People Colin Pettit said a new review of national and international research reinforced some of the key concerns raised by WA young people in the state’s first Speaking Out Survey.

In this survey, female young people were:
• twice as likely as their male peers to report not feeling happy with themselves, feel unable to achieve their goals or deal with things that happen in their life
• much less likely than male young people to feel like they belonged at their school
• significantly less likely than male young people to feel safe in their neighbourhood and on public transport.

“This is consistent with international and national data, which also shows that adolescent emotional wellbeing has declined in the last decade,” Mr Pettit said.

The Commissioner’s report, Exploring the decline in wellbeing for Australian girls, examines the research and data across a range of wellbeing measures, including physical health, mental health, education, social media and safety.

“While progress is being made in improving gender equity in Australia, there is clear evidence that more needs to be done to address the concerns being expressed by female young people.

“The decline in wellbeing for female children and young people goes well beyond a child’s home or school environment and must be considered in the broader context of our modern society.

“I hope that the findings will be a call to action across government and non-government sectors working to improve support for children and young people, and to inform policy, programs and services to improve wellbeing outcomes for girls.

“A key aspect of this process is listening to female young people, hearing their concerns and views and acting on them,” Mr Pettit said.

Later this year the Commissioner will release the findings from WA’s second Speaking Out Survey, outlining the views of thousands of WA young people in Years 4-12.