Middlesbrough 'worst place to be a girl in England and Wales', report says

Middlesbrough has been ranked as the worst place to be a girl in England and Wales in a new report.

The study, by the charity Plan International UK, looked at factors including child poverty, educational attainment and teenage pregnancy rates, and found a stark geographical divide for girls' prospects.

Inner city areas performed the worst, with Middlesbrough, Blackpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Liverpool in the bottom five.

Researchers found that girls are facing sexual harassment, sometimes on a daily basis, and struggle with issues such as body image and cyber bullying.

Waverley in Surrey came out on top in the report, which is the first of its kind to assess the experiences of girls across every local authority in England and Wales.

Following Waverley in the top five are Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire, Chiltern in Buckinghamshire, and Mole Valley, and Epsom and Ewell, both in Surrey.

The report found girls are struggling with a number of issues, including cyber bullying. Credit: PA Wire

The report's co-author Lucy Powell said: "Our overall conclusion is the UK is failing girls and what needs to happen is urgent action to address this.

"We heard very strongly from girls that they were facing harassment every day, that meant they were facing harassment in schools, they were getting name-calling, unwanted sexual touching, groping.

"They also told us that they don't feel safe online and that they are scared when they walk to and from school.

The report, which also interviewed 103 girls and young women, found that while girls outperform boys at school, they are still expected to live up to gender stereotypes and are discouraged from playing sports.

Plan International UK called for girls committees to be set up, mandatory sex and relationship education, and greater cross-departmental government cooperation to address the problems.

The top 10 worst places to be a girl in England and Wales:

The top 10 best places to be a girl in England and Wales: