East Renfrewshire is the second best place in the UK to be a girl, a new study shows.

The area was second only to Orkney in a comparison of how regional inequality means some girls are growing up with greater rights and access to opportunity than others.

The report, State of Girls’ Rights in the UK 2020, report was compiled by global children’s charity, Plan International.

Researchers measured girls’ rights and quality of life, looking at areas such as child poverty, life expectancy and employment and training.

The findings have been welcomed by East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald, who said it is “really great” the area is the second best place in the UK to be a girl.

She added: “There is no doubt that our local communities are home to amazing girls, as well as great schools, clubs and groups that help them on the way to fulfilling their potential.

“I am also pleased to see that Scotland is out in front in terms of the best places for girls to grow up. 

“There should be nothing that is off-limits for our girls and all our young people should feel able to aim high.”

Ms Oswald said that, as a woman in public life, she believes there is still some way to go in terms of breaking down barriers to ensure everyone has a fair chance to be heard, access opportunities, safely and as a matter of course.

She added: “I hope this excellent report by Plan International is a helpful boost on the road to ensuring that day comes sooner rather than later.”

The only other Scottish area in the UK top 10 was Shetland, which came fourth.

The city of Dundee was in the bottom 10 in the UK rankings and ranked last in Scotland.

Rose Caldwell, chief executive of Plan International UK, said policies at national, devolved and local level are currently not going far enough to tackle inequality.

She has called for the introduction of “gender champions” across the country.

“It is encouraging to see that Scotland is leading the movement for giving girls greater access to opportunity and equality but, sadly, our report finds that girls across the UK still feel disempowered and unable to realise their rights, with their potential largely determined by birthplace,” she added.

“Girls are told they can succeed but they face a threat to their safety in public, online and in schools. They are told gender equality has been achieved and yet they do not feel represented or heard by those in power.

“If adolescent girls are feeling undervalued, unheard and under-represented in public life, we as a society are letting them down.”

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