Girls are more likely to enjoy STEM subjects and more activist, but also a lot less happy than they were 10 years ago and the majority feel women have to work harder to succeed than men, according to a Girlguiding report.
The Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2018 presents a mixed picture with primary school-aged girls often more positive than their teenage counterparts. Some 43% of girls aged 7-10 enjoy ICT at school compared to 19% in 2009 and 53% want to be leaders in their chosen job compared to 42% in 2016. Younger girls are also less worried about their appearance, with 51% of girls aged 7-10 saying they are very happy with how they look compared to 44% in 2009.
Nevertheless, only 25% of girls aged 7-21 say they are very happy compared to 41% in 2009, with exam pressures and social media being big factors for older girls.
The report also shows 67% of girls aged 11-21 don’t believe women have the same chances as men to succeed. More than half of girls aged 7 to 10 want to be leaders in their chosen job, but the numbers fell among those aged 11 to 21 compared to two years ago. Girlguiding UK says one reason for this could be reluctance to face the same challenges they see female leaders facing. Another is the continuing lack of positive female role models available to girls. A third of girls say they are put off going into politics because of the way female politicians are treated, while three-quarters of 11 to 21-year-olds believe there are fewer women business leaders because women are treated less fairly than men.
Linked to this is a leap over the last seven years in the number of girls who think women have to work harder
Girls are also more activist than in the past: 36% of girls aged 11-21 have spoken up on an issue they care about compared to 28% in 2011. However, 45% of 7-10 year olds say housework is shared equally between men and women compared to 25% in 2009.
They are less likely than 10 years ago to be allowed out in their local area on their own or with friends and older girls say they socialise less in general.