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A key finding of the Western Australian (WA) Commissioner for Children and Young People’s (the Commissioner’s) inaugural Speaking Out Survey conducted in 2019 was that female young people in WA rated their wellbeing less favourably than male young people. These findings were across multiple areas of wellbeing including mental health, self-perception, relationships, personal safety and experiences of independence.

In this large-scale survey, female young people were:

  • twice as likely as male young people to report not feeling happy with themselves, feel unable to achieve their goals or to 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 data and research that shows adolescent female young people report poorer mental health and wellbeing than their male peers.

The purpose of this report is to outline current evidence regarding female young people’s wellbeing to better understand the reasons for the wellbeing gap between male and female young people. The findings will be used to develop a program of work within the Commissioner’s office, including detailed analysis of the 2021 Speaking Out Survey data and further consultations with children and young people to explore identified gaps in knowledge.

Further, this report builds the case for urgent action across government and non-government sectors and the community more broadly to focus on improving girls’ wellbeing outcomes.

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