Campaign targets teen girl drop-outs

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The Independent Online
THE underachievement of teenage girls is to be the centrepiece of a new strategy to improve the lot of women, the Government will announce today.

Baroness Jay, the Minister for Women, and Tessa Jowell, the Commons Minister for Women, will outline a campaign to improve the performance of teenage girls at the Commonwealth Club in London.

The ministers want to reverse the current trend for girls in their mid- teens to drop out and fail to reach their full potential.

The strategy forms part of an action plan which includes research on women's incomes, new moves to protect women from violence, and a study of nurses and shop workers.

Baroness Jay said: "Girls outperform boys all the way to their mid teens, but they then fall behind and too many fail to reach their potential.

"We will be looking at the challenges facing teenage girls; issues such as dieting, smoking, alcohol and drug dependency, role models and low self-esteem to discover why this is. For women to reach their full potential in adulthood, they must have self-worth as teenagers."

A national consultation exercise called "Listening to Women" also begins today.