INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A new report focusing on the status of girls in Indiana found more than half (51 percent) of high school-aged girls in 2011 admitted to having had sexual intercourse at some point in their lives. 40 percent said they were sexually active.
The report, compiled by a team of faculty and students at St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame Indiana, used publicly available statistics on Hoosier girls. It is the first comprehensive study of statewide trends on the health and wellbeing of girls ages 10 to 19.
Among the topics studied are demographics (income, race, housing), education (attendance, standardized test performance, graduation rates), and health (physical activity, diet, substance use, mental health, abuse).
The study found Indiana girls are more likely than boys to consider, plan and attempt suicide. According to 2011 mental health data for Hoosier eighth graders:
- 20.4 percent considered suicide
- 14.1 percent planned suicide
- 11.5 percent attempted suicide
The data shows the percentage of girls who consider, plan and attempt suicide peaks in the eighth and ninth grade.
Kristin Garvey, executive director of the Indiana Commission for Women, is hopeful the report will encourage and enable Indiana organizations and institutions to provide better services for Hoosier girls.
“By providing a current snapshot of girls in Indiana, this report provides statistics for individuals, organizations, and agencies that need the information to offer recommendations for future programming efforts or policy consideration,” said Garvey.
GIRLS BEHIND IN MATH/SCIENCE
When it comes to education, the report found Indiana’s girls are more likely to take Advanced Placement (AP) exams compared to boys (55 percent to 45 percent). However, boys do better on the exams. 52 percent receive passing scores compared to 42 percent of girls.
Data also shows Indiana girls were at least 11 percent less likely than boys to meet college benchmark scores on the ACT for mathematics and science.
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