A Vindication of the Rights of Girls: surviving girlhood in the 21st century

Rachel Alsop, Suzanne Clisby

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Between 2014 to 2016 we conducted mixed-methods research exploring girls’ experiences of growing up in the UK in the 21st century. We spoke to girls and young women between the ages of 10 and 24 in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to gain a qualitative snapshot of what matters to girls. We also conducted the first quantitative study of a range of quality of life indicators disaggregated by age and gender in the UK to garner a statistical view of geographically-based experiences of growing up girl. The study was commissioned by Plan International UK and The State of Girls’ Rights report was launched in September 2016. What struck us at the time of writing the report was the resonance between challenges girls raised in 2016 and those proclaimed by Wollstonecraft in her 1792 treatise, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman published over 200 years earlier. Here we bring together these voices from the 18th and 21st centuries to consider the continuing legacy and resonance of Wollstonecraft’s ideas in thinking about growing up girl in Britain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-855
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
Issue number7
Early online date3 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Girls
  • Young Women
  • Rights
  • Equality
  • Mary Wollstonecraft


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