‘Less than 20% of girls want to work in an office’

A new study of girls finds they reject traditional forms of leadership, prioritise making a difference and that fewer than 20% want to work in an office.

schoolgirls taking notes in class

 

Three in four girls want to work flexibly and fewer than 20% want to work in an office, according to a new survey of girls aged nine to 18.

The Girls’ Future report from the Girls’ Day School Trust [GDST], based on a survey of 1,358 girls from across England and Wales, finds that girls want to make work work for them. Few see the spoils of traditional  leadership such as salary, prestige or power as aspirational. Instead they prioritise honesty, integrity and resilience as qualities they believe leaders should possess. Making a difference is a big focus. Two-thirds want to make a difference to society through their careers and three quarters believe it is their generation’s responsibility to make the world a better place.

Girls are twice as likely to say they want to do a job they enjoy than to be rich; they are nearly three times as likely to prioritise being healthy and safe than a leader; and also twice as likely to prioritise being respected than being a leader.

The survey highlights how girls’ confidence falls over the course of secondary school: 39% feel negative about their future at age 18, double the percentage (20%) who feel this at age 14.  In addition, the percentage of girls who think it will be easy to get the job they want more than halves between the same ages (with an average of two thirds over all age groups believing it will be hard to get the job they want).

Eight per cent of girls in secondary school feel that school fully prepares them for the adult world, although two-thirds believe it prepares them for some aspects. Girls want to be taught more practical skills with only one in 10 girls in senior school saying they felt school had provided adequate guidance around financial education. Only 10% say they learn enough about different ways to earn money, and only 16% about what the working world will be like.

The survey also shows that many girls feel they are being held back by gender bias: almost a third of girls nationally between the ages of 9 and 18 have felt unable to participate in certain activities or subjects because of their gender.

Although 39% of girls feel negative about their future at age 18, double the percentage (20%) who feel this at age 14, 83% are passionate about taking on roles that they enjoy. Nevertheless, they are also pragmatic and understand the importance of job security (79%) and good pay (75%).

More than half of the girls surveyed (56%) say they see fake news online at least once a week, but only four in ten know what to do when they see it. And although social media is the most used medium through which they consume their news, only 28% trust what they see on social media.

Read the full GDST report.



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