'We want to do the same things as boys', girls say

Being treated differently from boys is the most unfair thing about being a girl, Girlguiding survey says

Tes Reporter

Giant spirit level resting on a barrel

Almost 16,000 schoolgirls say not being able to do the same things as boys is the most unfair thing about being a girl.

When asked what was unfair about being a girl today, 83 per cent of Guides named being treated differently to boys, and 65 per cent cited prejudice against women in jobs or careers.

Of the 19,032 10- to 14-year-olds questioned, 64 per cent said that the representation of women in the media was unfair.

The consultation was carried out by Girlguiding and received more than 76,000 responses from girls and young women aged between four and 25.

Quick read‘Girls learn little about equality in school’ 

Analysis‘Girls learn little about equality in school’

Comment'Education needs to be more female-friendly'

When 18,928 Rainbows – aged 4 to 7 – were asked what made them sad, 96 per cent said bullying, and 95 per cent said a lack of access to outdoor parks or playgrounds.

Meanwhile, 33,652 Brownies, aged 7 to 10, said they wanted to live in a world where girls and young women were supported to do any sport they liked.

The figures are released ahead of the launch of Future Girl, the charity's new manifesto for girl-led change.

This is based on the topics that girls of all ages care about the most: bullying, gender stereotypes, appearance pressures, and the environment.

The five Future Girl topics are: Planet Protectors, Adventurers, Self-Believers, Respect Makers and Barrier Breakers.

With regard to barrier breakers, the manifesto states that “girls want an equal world,” and continues: "They want an end to the gender stereotypes that limit their choices and ambitions. No subject at school or career path should feel out of reach to girls.

"They will champion equality throughout society, at local and national levels."

Girlguiding advocate Ruyuan, 15, said: "Girls are facing more pressure today than ever before.

"And when it comes to the important decisions that will affect our futures, we aren't being listened to. We deserve better than that."

Education secretary, Damian Hinds, said: "In many ways, there has never been a better time to grow up, but this generation also faces new or heightened pressures in their lives.

“That's why we are tackling these head-on, from better mental-health support in schools and lessons teaching about healthy relationships, to cracking down on bullying and introducing plans to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

"As education secretary, but also as a father of two daughters, I want to see happy, confident, resilient young women making their voices heard on issues that affect them. So this manifesto is something I hope will encourage every girl to shape her own future."

Angela Salt, CEO of Girlguiding, said: "Girls are growing up in a time of some uncertainty, but they are clear about the future they want, as our research with them shows.

"They care about personal issues such as free period products in schools, they care about their own communities, and they care about our environment. 

"With our dedicated volunteers, we will support them to campaign and to build the future they want."

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