It has been decades since the Women’s Movement, and what we find is that while women have made great strides, we have a long way to go on the path to gender equity.
Many studies, including the national Girls Inc. Supergirl Dilemma Study, suggest that we are running in place—and perhaps even going backward—on some of the gender-related issues and social paradigms girls continue to face.
Here are some of the facts:
Too many girls don’t finish high school.
While high school drop out rates in New York City have improved considerably for girls, the statistics recently reported by the Department of Education indicate that New York City still has one of the highest dropout rates in the nation. More than half the 300,000 students in the city’s high schools failed to qualify for a diploma within four years. Board of Education statistics, reported in the New York Times, February 28th, 2008
Girls report personal safety as a main concern.
Many girls miss school because they simply do not feel safe around people in school. A whopping 83% of girls report having been sexually harassed. American Association of University Women, 2006 At our Girls Inc. of New York City focus groups, personal safety is the main concern.
Girls are twice as likely to be forced to have sex.
Since 1999, dating violence has increased more than 40%. In New York City, with 1 in 10 teen girls reporting physical violence by a partner. NYC Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2007
Female juvenile arrests have increased.
While there has been a steady decline in juvenile crime both nationally and in New York State over the past decade, the number of female juvenile arrests has increased by 20% in New York City over the same period. New York City Public Advocate Report, 2005
48% of female students in New York City public schools report having had sex.
One in ten girls has had sex before the age of 13. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2006
After nearly two decades of decline, the birth rate among teens has risen 3% in NYC.
Teen birth rates vary by race/ethnicity and borough. By race/ethnicity: Latina, 55.6%; Black, 37.3%; White, 11.2%; Asian, 8.6%. Center for Disease Control, 2007 By borough: Bronx, 48.4%; Brooklyn, 31.4%; Manhattan, 30.2%; Queens, 25.5%; Staten Island,22.4%. As in previous years, teen birth rates were higher among Latinas and Blacks; among the boroughs, the rates were highest in the Bronx. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2006
In mental health, dramatic and well-known disparities exist between boys and girls.
Girls suffer from depression at twice the rate of boys. Suicide attempts are particularly prevalent among Latina girls. Center for Disease Control, 2005
Girls have surpassed boys in prescription drug abuse.
Office of National Drug Control Policy, April 30, 2007