October 7, 2008

Report: Wisconsin girls, boys equal in math; 90% of girls graduate high school, but only 22% finish college

By Marie Block

The Racine chapter of AAUW met Tuesday evening to discuss "The Status of Girls in Wisconsin" report. The 2007 report, headed by the Alverno College Research Center, gives insight to how girls ages 10-19 are faring in the state.

The report is divided into 11 categories which show both positive trends for girls and areas of concern. Below are a few findings from the report. Click here for the full report.

The Good News


  • More than 7% of high school girls are taking Advanced Placement exams, up from 4% ten years ago.
  • Over 90% of girls graduated with a regular high school diploma compared to 87% of boys.
  • No significant difference was found in mathematics scores between males and females.

Physical Activity

  • Girls in WI are more likely to partcipate in at least one sport than girls on a national level.
  • Only 23% of girls in WI watch 3 or more hours of TV on an average school day compared with 36% nationally.

Sexual Health

  • WI high school girls are less likely to have had sexual intercourse, 40.3% in WI compared to 45.7% nationally.
  • Birth rates for teenage mothers aged 15-19 has decreased from approxiamately 41 per 1,000 in 1993 to 30 per 1,000 in 2004.

Tobacco Use/Abuse

  • High school girls who smoke has decreased from 38% in 1999 to 22% in 2005.

What Needs to be Addressed


  • Only 65% of girls passed the Advanced Placement exam with a score of 3 or above compared to over 70% of boys who passed with a 3 or above.
  • The majority of girls who drop out of school do so because they are pregnant or parenting. Females dropouts who do not have children are more likely to become teenage mothers than those who stay in school.
  • Only 22% of women in WI have a four-year college degree even though 57% of female high school students intend to attend a four-year college.

Physical Activity

  • 34% of high school girls reported they had not been physically active for at least in hour in the past week and 73% did not meet recommened levels of physical activity.
  • Nationally, 40% of girls say they do not play sports because they do not see themselves as skilled or competent.


  • 16% say they do not feel like they belong at their school.
  • 9% of girls reported they do not have a single person in their life they were comfortable seeking help from if they had an important question affecting their lives.

Sexual Health

  • 10% of high school girls used no form of birth control the last time they had sexual intercourse.
  • There were 7,362 reported cases of STD infection for WI females ages 15-19 in 2005, with chlamydia the most prevelant.
  • Only 51% of high school girls have spoken with a parent about HIV/AIDS.
  • 23% of women who are sexually assaulted become pregnant by the perpetrator.
  • 42% of girls age 15 or younger who are having sex report that their first sexual intercourse was not consensual.
  • Infant mortality rates for babies born to teenage mothers under the age of 15 is 23.3 and 15.2 for mothers ages 15-17.

Alcohol Use/Abuse

  • 49% of high school girls report consuming one or more alcoholic beverages in the preceding 30 days.
  • 10% of girls report they were 10 years or younger the first time they consumed alcohol.
  • 30% of high school girls engaged in binge drinking at least once in the previous month.

Mental Health

  • 33% of WI high school females reported feeling "so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities, but only 5% received any mental health counseling or care.
  • For WI youth ages 10-17, self-harm is the leading cause of injury-related hospializations.
  • 11% of girls reported at least one suicide attempt in the past year and 22% seriously considered suicide.
  • Between 1999 and 2004, suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death among WI girls ages 10-14, and the 2nd leading cause of death among WI females ages 15-24.
  • 62% of high school girls were trying to lose weight despite only 6% of WI high school girls are actually overweight.


  • Over 60% of victims of child abuse and neglect are girls.
  • The rate of violence a female experiences increases with age, mostly due to sexual abuse allegations.
  • 13% of WI high school females report having been forced to take part in sexual activity.

If these numbers are alarming to you, get involved to be a positive influence in the life of a girl you know. The presenter stated that focusing on girls is not detrimental to boys. Rather, everyone benefits when the community addresses the concerns of girls.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Perhaps anonymous had difficulty interpreting this straight forward data? The report clearly says that while 62% are trying to lose weight, only 6% are actually overweight. Perhaps these girls are having body image issues because of insensitive clods like you???

    Happy with my beautiful body!