How are our girls? Groundbreaking Indiana Girl Report provides an overview of the facts.
This month the 2023 Indiana Girl Report was released, the first of its kind collaboration between Indiana Youth Institute, the Girl Scouts, and their Girl Coalition of Indiana. The cooperation, shared purpose, and data report are part of an innovative joint effort to increase the well-being of Hoosier girls. As the state’s leader in child and youth data, IYI is delighted to be a partner in this transformative project.
The report’s data establishes a foundation for understanding key issues affecting the
quality of life for girls. It also offers a roadmap for cultivating supportive environments and developing resources for girls to help them navigate through topics often considered taboo, including mental health, sexual dating violence, gender bias, bullying, and more.
Understanding is essential to increasing the well-being of Indiana girls. While it is tempting to generalize from the experience of the girls we know best – perhaps those in our families, neighborhoods, or troops – it is important that we start with a lens that reflects the entirety of girls across our state. What does homelessness look like for Hoosier girls? What about hunger? Or college completion? The list goes on and on.
The report highlights how girls in Indiana face a number of considerable challenges, including:
When it comes to experiencing bullying, girls in Indiana are more than twice as likely as boys to become victims of traditional bullying and three times as likely to become victims of cyberbullying.
From 2015 to 2021, the rate of physical and sexual dating violence among girls in Indiana has increased, while the prevalence among boys has decreased. 17% of high school girls reported having experienced sexual dating violence in 2021 – 5x the rate of boys.
In 2021, girls in Indiana were admitted for hospital inpatient care at more than three times the rate of boys.
Girls of color are disproportionately affected by poverty, teen pregnancy, and sexual assault.
LGBTQ+ girls face unique challenges, such as discrimination and violence.
Girls with disabilities are also disproportionately affected by poverty, teen pregnancy, and sexual assault.
Indiana Youth Institute is honored to have served as our state’s KIDS COUNT affiliate for almost 30 years. This national network of youth services providers, universities, and data experts collects, analyzes, and shares hundreds of child well-being data points. Data is abundant and our goal is to make it easier to understand and use to benefit youth-serving organizations, their missions, and their goals.
At the same time, it’s important that we use this data to inform and drive action. Toward this end, the Girl Coalition of Indiana has big goals, and will use this data to begin new discussions, plans, and impactful efforts to support and improve girls’ lives across the state. These efforts also will help build the kinds of connections with Hoosier kids, families, and communities that can help foster both action and enduring results.
The 2023 Indiana Girl Report is an important resource for policymakers, educators, and other stakeholders who work to improve the lives of girls in Indiana. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges facing girls as well as places where progress is being made. It also provides recommendations for actions to take to ensure that all girls in Indiana have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
The report concludes with a call by the Girl Coalition of Indiana for a statewide commitment to ensuring that all girls have the opportunity to reach their full potential. This includes investing in programs and policies that address challenges facing girls, such as poverty, access to affordable housing and healthy food, lack of educational opportunity, and gender-based violence. It also includes creating a culture that values girls and their contributions, while also promoting girls’ leadership and participation in decision-making.
We know that the task of increasing the well-being of our kids is complex and complicated. The 2023 Indiana Girl Report offers a shining example of the type of bold innovation that will be needed to bring lasting, positive change to girls’ lives in Indiana. Again, we are grateful to be part of this project and are committed to supporting its success.