Girls and young women shut out and silenced when participating in politics – global survey

Globally and in the Philippines, girls and young women consistently feel excluded from politics, according to new research by Plan International.

The 2022 State of the World’s Girls Report, “Equal Power Now”, surveyed almost 29,000 girls and young women aged 15 to 24 from 29 countries across different regions, income levels and civic contexts.

Among these were 1,000 girls and young women from the Philippines.

The aim of the global study was to explore and understand girls’ and young women’s attitudes towards, and experiences of, political and civic participation and institutions, across a diverse range of contexts.

‘Equal Power Now’ found that while girls and young women care about politics and believe that meaningful participation in politics is important, they continue to face a host of barriers in their political participation.

In the Philippines, girls and young women see their political participation as important for placing emphasis on social justice, education and health in political decisions (65%), and for improving the situation of girls and young women in society (57%).

Many are already engaged in some form of political activity that pursues change in the issues they care about, mostly in their local communities. Globally, the most common way by which girls and young women participate is through voting.

Locally, while voting was also one of the more common participation activities (49%), it is only ranked third compared to following politics on social media (54%) and following politics in different media (50%).

The lowest ranked participation activity of girls in the Philippines is running for political office at any level (8%).

Girls and young women have further identified the challenges they perceive when they try to participate, such as: feeling like politics isn’t open to them (27%); being afraid to speak out about their views (26%); thinking that politicians would not listen to them (26%); and not understanding enough about political issues (20%).

In light of the findings from ‘Equal Power Now’, Plan International Philippines emphasizes its commitment to work with government, powerholders, and organizations to foster, champion, and support safe, inclusive, and sustainable pathways to participation for girls and young women.

Country Director Ana Maria Locsin said, “The role of girls and young women in shaping the development of our local and global communities can no longer be denied. With local and global issues surrounding politics, health, education, and social welfare becoming increasingly complex, we need now more than ever for girls’ voices to be duly recognized in formal decision-making spaces, as is their right.”

Plan International stands with girls calling on leaders and powerholders to institutionalize meaningful and safe participation of girls and their groups, ensure access to diverse and inclusive pathways to participation, and adopt a zero-tolerance approach to violence towards the political participation of girl activists.

All research findings can be found at