October 4, 2022
October 4, 2022

‘Equal Power Now’, Released Ahead of the 10th Anniversary of the International Day Of The Girl, Explores Girls’ and Young Women’s Attitudes Around Politics and Gendered Social Issues 

Results Grant Critical Insight Into the Pain Points and Areas of Opportunity for Young Female Political Participation Globally and Across the U.S.


NEW YORK, NY – Today, Plan International USA, a leading international humanitarian nonprofit supporting girls' rights, unveiled the 2022 State of the World’s Girls report, titled Equal Power Now: Girls, Young Women and Political Participation, which explores girls’ and young women’s attitudes around politics and political participation. Findings from the report, released publicly ahead of the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl – and weeks ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, grant critical insight into the pain points and areas of opportunity for young female participation in politics and leadership.

Plan International USA surveyed 1,098 girls and young women in all 50 states, majority aged 20-24, as part of a global survey of 29,000 girls and women aged 15-24, across 29 countries, to gain insight into how young women feel about the current state of politics.

Findings from the survey reveal that girls and young women are largely undervalued, undermined, and underestimated, and excluded from the decisions that affect them in their homes, schools, and communities. Specific results include:

- In the U.S., half of girls and young women surveyed (52%) disagreed that political leaders know and understand their views and only half feel that political leaders act in their best interest;

- Only 5% of US girls and young women said that they were generally happy with the decisions of their political leaders (compared to the global average of 11%), with a majority saying they had felt stressed, worried, anxious, sad, and depressed due to the actions or decisions of political leaders and had lost trust in political leaders;

- A majority – 94% both globally and in the U.S. – identified that girls and young women may face challenges when trying to participate in politics because they believe politicians will not listen to them (40%); politicians aren’t open to the engagement or participation of young women or girls (37%); and politicians do not talk about issues that affect women and girls (37%).

“For too long, girls and young women have been denied and discouraged from taking part in the decisions that affect their lives at local, national, and international levels. At Plan International USA, we know that girls have the power, ability, and appetite to lead, and we’re determined to ensure those in power know that as well,” said Shanna Marzilli, COO of Plan International USA. “This year’s State of the World’s Girls report is a wake-up call for political leaders in the US and everywhere to show girls and young women that they are not only listening, but taking action to center girls and young women in the political arena.”

Responses from the survey also indicate that while girls are determined to make their voices heard – 80% of U.S. girls and young women said they participated in politics in some form -- U.S. girls and young women had the lowest aspirations to stand for political office and/or become an elected representative (14%). Additionally, many girls and young women believe that a woman would not be elected president in the U.S. because of the prevalence of gender inequality and bias in the USA (44%), the notion that women are too soft and empathetic to be president (41%), and an inaccessibility to those that are not considered male elites (36%).

“It is not only upsetting that a majority of girls, like myself, feel discouraged to engage in politics due to gender discrimination, but that those in charge continue to turn a blind eye,” said Ava, 17, Plan International USA Youth Advisory Board Member.

“The findings of the State of the World’s Girls report are sobering yet sadly unsurprising. The results validate a generation of girls grappling with persistent inequalities and the difficult question of how to go about making change under a flawed system,” said Luna, 17, Plan International USA Youth Advisory Board Member. “The significant consensus among girls and young women on the questions of the study shows how strongly our generation is impacted by gender inequality in politics. The results are a testament to the need for new female leadership, role models, and systemic change. These statistics hit close to home. As a college student pursuing climate policymaking, I am having to grapple with how to assert my ideas and confidence in policy classrooms that are male dominated. There are few female-identifying leaders in political leadership I can look up to.”

For more information, please view the full report at

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Robin Costello Senior Director, Public Engagement & Advocacy
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 401-829-2796


About Plan International USA:

Powered by supporters, Plan International USA partners with adolescent girls, young women and children around the world to overcome oppression and gender inequality, providing the support and resources that are unique to their needs and the needs of their communities, ensuring they achieve their full potential with dignity, opportunity and safety. Founded in 1937, Plan is an independent development and humanitarian organization that is active in more than 80 countries.

For more information, and to learn about our commitment to safeguarding, please visit