I AM writing to you in response to Make Space for Girls’ new Parkwatch report which for the first time reveals the full extent of how teenage girls are designed out of parks.

Parkwatch was a citizen science project where we asked people to go to their local park and count who was using the teenage facilities - and how many of these were girls. 

We got more than 250 counts from across the country, giving us the first ever data on who uses the teenage facilities in our parks.

The results are quite shocking. Over 90% of those using the most commonly provided teenage facilities in parks are boys and young men. 

Girls and young women are left with nowhere to go. This is a problem which has been hiding in plain sight for a long time. 

The vast majority of what we provide in parks for teenagers are skate parks, BMX tracks and fenced pitches for football and basketball. 

Our research demonstrates for the first time that these are used 90% by men and boys, which means that girls feel unsafe or that they don’t belong.

This inequality has a whole range of impacts. 

Girls don’t feel that they are meant to be outdoors or that they are part of the community, and this has an impact on both their physical and mental wellbeing. 

We know that girls are less active than boys – but is that surprising when they don’t have places to be active in? 

So we’re recommending councils look at their provision and see if it really does meet the needs of teenage girls.

A broader range of facilities need to be built which are more inclusive for everyone.

And most of all, they need to talk to teenage girls themselves, to find out what they really want.

We know that councils are short of money right now but a lot of the facilities that teenage girls would like to see – swings, social seating and trampolines for example  - are actually cheaper than the facilities that they currently provide.

Susannah Walker, co-founder, Make Space for Girls