A NEW report published by a global children’s charity has ranked Monmouthshire as the best authority to grow up as a girl.

The research from Plan International UK, which ranks the best and worst areas to be a girl in Wales, uses five key indicators to produce a league table of local authorities across the country, with Merthyr Tydfil rated the worst and Monmouthshire the best.

The State of Girls’ Rights in the UK ranks areas according to child poverty, female life expectancy, teenage pregnancy, girls’ GCSE results and the numbers of girls not in education, employment, or training (NEETs).

Following Monmouthshire, the best authorities to grow up as a girl were Powys, Ceredigion, Vale of Glamorgan and Gwynedd.

However, research shows a divided picture across Wales, with Merthyr Tydfil performing much worse, followed by Cardiff (2nd worst), Caerphilly (3rd worst), Bridgend (4th worst) and Rhondda, Cynon and Taff (5th worst) to make up the ‘bottom five.’

“While there is a mixed picture across the country, it’s clear that many girls in Wales are experiencing real challenges in terms of their education and health,” says Plan International UK head of girls’ rights, Kerry Smith.

The charity is calling for a six-point action plan to progress girls’ rights across the UK – and Girls’ Rights Champions to be appointed at national, devolved and local levels.

“Urgent action is needed at local and national level to improve girls’ lives in Wales,” says Smith. “Only by breaking down the barriers they face will we truly deliver equality for girls.”

To support Plan International UK’s Because I am a Girl campaign visit www.plan-uk.org/because-i-am-a-girl/