The 2012 Girl Guides Attitudes survey, which involved 1,200 young women and girls, reveals that only 68 per cent of girls are happy about the way they look, compared to 78 per cent of boys.
Three out of five secondary school-age girls (11- to 16-year-olds) said they feel pressure to look like celebrities, while one in three girls said they would be willing to consider some form of surgery to change their appearance.
The survey also found that 68 per cent of girls believe women are judged more on appearance than ability.
And almost half of girls aged 11 to 21 (48 per cent) say women working in the caring professions are undervalued by society.
Chief guide Gill Slocombe said young women growing up today have strong opinions, and prize their independence and education.
“They value confidence, so it is a great shame that despite this they feel they are judged on their looks and believe that society wouldn’t value them if they focus on motherhood or work in a caring profession,” she said.
The survey also found that one in five girls aged 11 to 21 think women are treated less fairly by employers.
However only 19 per cent of girls think their career chances are worse than their mothers’ generation, compared to 38 per cent of boys thinking their career chances are worse than their fathers’ generation.
Caroline Cartmill, a 15-year-old guide, said: “I believe successful careers, thriving families and a positive lifestyle are all feasible for women of today.
"Girls can have an independent outlook and recognise the alternatives to the traditional family structure.”
Boys were included in the survey for comparison purposes for the first time, with 600 questioned as part of the research.