GENDER INEQUALITY CASTS SHADOW OVER GIRLS’ FUTURE, NEW RESEARCH FINDS

  • Girlguiding Scotland, the leading charity for girls and young women in the country, has released new research revealing what it’s like to be a girl in Scotland today
  • The survey found 77% of girls age 12-25 said they were treated differently because they are female, 28% said this happens often or always
  • 15% of girls age 7-25 said they felt unhappy most of the time. And while 40% of girls age 7-11 describe themselves as ‘very happy’ this drops to just 19% for girls age 18-25
  • 78% of girls age 13-25 reveal they learn (or learnt) little or nothing about consent in personal or social education
  • 86% of girls age 7-25 say they expect to split childcare & housework equally with a partner but 71% say they worry about balancing career and family life
  • 62% of girls said they’d like to be a leader in their chosen career but 45% said they think this will be harder because they are female.

Shocking new research by Girlguiding Scotland has highlighted the everyday impact of gender inequality on girls & young women age 7-25.

To mark 16-days of activism to end violence against women & girls, Girlguiding Scotland has launched new research which found girls are aiming high for their future but remain acutely aware of the challenges in their way.

Girls expressed high expectations for equal treatment at home and in the workplace – with 86% of girls age 7-25 saying they expect to split childcare and housework equally with their partner and 91% saying the expected to have the same career opportunities as men. And 8 in 10 girls (80%) said they would not work for an employer who pays female employees less than male employees.

But 71% of girls age 7-25 said they worried about balancing career and family life, while two in five (43%) said they expected getting a well-paid job to be harder because they are female.

While 62% of girls age 7-25 said they would like to be a leader in their chosen career, nearly half (45%) said they thought this would be harder because they were female. And 52% of girls said they’d like to run their own business in the future but one in three felt this would be harder because they are female.

And girls’ optimism appears to decline as they get older – while 61% of girls age 7-11 strongly agree that they can do anything a boy can do, this drops to just 45% of girls age 12-17 and 39% of girls age 18-25.

Hannah Brisbane, Girlguiding Scotland’s lead volunteer for voice, said the findings show there is still a long way to go before all girls in Scotland can look forward to an equal future.

She says: “As our new research shows, gender inequality casts a long shadow over girls’ everyday lives and their views of the future. As the leading charity for girls and young women in the country, we want to create a future where girls know the only limit on what they can achieve is their imagination and a present where girls can feel safe and happy in their everyday lives. We hope this research will play an important role in highlighting the issues girls are up against and how we can all play a part in making Scotland the best possible place to be a girl.”

Louise Macdonald OBE, Chair of the First Minister’s Advisory Council on Women and Girls, welcomed the research saying: “It is shocking that in 2018, nearly 8 in 10 girls in Scotland say they experience gender inequality in their day to day lives; that nearly one in two girls feel they would have more freedom if they were a boy, and that 45% of girls say becoming a leader in their careers will be harder because they are female.

“These figures, and the many others like them in this research, show that, for all our progress, we still have a long way to go to ensure girls in Scotland can feel truly equal in their everyday lives and future careers. I hope these findings will challenge decision-makers, educators, employers and everyone with a stake in girls’ lives to play their part in delivering an equal future for girls as a matter of urgency.”

Gender inequality is part of the everyday

Shocking figures reveal that 77% of girls age 12-25 feel they are treated differently because they are female, with 28% saying they are treated different often or always.

Nearly one in two girls (46%) age 7-25 said they felt they would have more freedom if they were a boy, a third said their family treated them differently because of their gender and 28% said they had to do more housework or chores.

When asked how gender inequality affected their everyday life girls told us:

  • “Men stare at me” 8-year-old girl
  • “You always have to be careful, like no climbing, don’t lift up your dress. Meanwhile the boys get to do whatever they want.” 9-year-old girl
  • “People like the Kardashians make it hard cause that’s what you’re expected to look like.” 13-year-old girl
  • “Men under-estimate us, they see us as things, not people.” 16-year-old girl

Girls aren’t getting an equal picture at school

Nine in 10 girls said they’d like to see the achievements of women better represented in their school’s curriculum. While 66% of girls age 12-25 said they learned about the achievements of women in history, modern studies and citizenship classes, this drop to 57% in English and 43% in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Worryingly girls also said they weren’t learning about essential topics in personal and social education like consent and healthy relationships. Among girls age 13-25, 78% said they learn or learnt little or nothing about consent in personal and social education.

Similarly, 78% of girls age 13-25 said they learn or learnt little or nothing about healthy relationships, 90% said they learn or learnt little or nothing about online pornography and 84% said they learn or learnt little or nothing about gender equality.

Happiness and wellbeing drops as girls get older

Girls happiness appears to decline steeply as they get older; 40% of girls age 7-11 describe themselves as ‘very happy’ most of the time but this drops to just 25% of girls age 11-17 and 19% of girls age 18-25. Overall 15% of girls age 7-25 said they feel unhappy most of the time.

Mental illness appears common among girls age 13-25 with 77% saying they know a girl their age who has experienced depression, and 63% saying they know a girl who has experienced self-harm.

Shockingly, 37% of girls age 13-25 said they knew a girl their age who had experienced sexual assault or rape while 43% knew a girl who had experienced violence or controlling behaviour from a partner.

A third of girls age 13-25 said they experienced harassment while out and about in their community, while nearly one in five said they felt unsafe going to their local park by themselves.

With around 50,000 young members across the country, Girlguiding Scotland is committed to speaking out on the issues affecting girls’ lives. Our campaign to end period poverty, led by our young members, has been pivotal in securing free period products in all Scottish schools, colleges and universities.

Our efforts to end sexual harassment in schools saw the Scottish Government commit to better recording of incidents of gender-based bullying, while we are continuing our campaign to ensure all young people in Scotland receive high quality and up to date personal and social education covering essential topics including consent, healthy relationships and equality.

And earlier this year our Citizen Girl campaign for equal representation has seen nearly 5,000 girls age 5-18 earn learn about equality, representation and how they can make their voices heard.

To find out more about Girlguiding Scotland and to view the full research visit www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/girls-in-scotland

 

ENDS

 

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Girlguiding Scotland Press Office 0131 226 4511 / 07852 554 779 /marketing@girlguiding-scot.org.uk

 

Notes to the Editors:

About our Research:

Girlguiding Scotland commissioned CHILDWISE, leading specialists in research with children and young people, to conduct a survey into the lives of girls in Scotland today, looking at the particular challenges they face, their interests, and how they feel about their lives.

A total of 540 girls and young women aged between 7 and 25 took part in the survey. The questionnaire was adapted to be suitable for different age groups, 7 to 11, 12 to 17 and 18 to 25 years. Some questions were asked of all age groups, while some were asked to specific age groups.  Fieldwork took place during April to June 2018.

The majority of interviews were completed online, with 7 to 17 year olds doing this in school, while the older age group were interviewed via an online panel (a small number of top–up interviews for 7 to 17 year olds were also carried out via this panel). Additional face to face interviews were carried out with young women who were not in education, employment, or training (NEET), to ensure that this potentially marginalised group was fully represented.

You can view the full research at www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/girls-in-scotland

Sample Details

The tables below show the actual numbers of responses by age, area, and ethnicity. Data was weighted at analysis to correct any imbalance in the final sample across the age range.

TOTAL 7-9 YRS 10-11 YRS 12-14 YRS 15-17 YRS 18-21 YRS 22-25 YRS
540 105 102 78 98 64 93

 

AREA   ETHNICITY
URBAN SUBURBAN RURAL   WHITE MINORITY DK/NA
160 160 220   364 51 125

 

About Girlguiding Scotland:

Girlguiding Scotland is the leading charity for girls and young women in Scotland, with around 50,000 young members. We build girls’ confidence and raise their aspirations. We give them the chance to discover their full potential and encourage them to be a powerful force for good. We give them a space to have fun. Find out more at www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk.