35% Of Teenagers Think Being A Girl Impacts Your Career Negatively

illustrated by ly ngo
A litany of campaigns in 2015 looked to redress the latent gender-stereotyping within the mainstream media (I’m being reminded of Barbie’s You Can Be Anything video series and the #likeagirl campaign that went viral). Some campaigns fell short – here I’m recalling IBM’s poor taste #HackAHairdryer Twitter push to get more women in the science and tech sectors, but however cack-handed, they were all movements in the right direction. Sadly, it seems that many young women still feel their sex predetermines their set of successes and failures in both public and private spheres.

In a major report from anti-bullying charity Ditch The Label – that explores how young people use gender stereotypes as part of their identity and how that in turn impacts their every-day decision making – shocking truths have been unearthed. Most alarmingly, of the 2,460 13-25 year-olds they interviewed, 35% of teenage girls believe their gender will have a negative effect on their career prospects comparative to 4% of boys.

Distressingly, 42% of all respondents felt men were better at political and legal jobs than women while only 4% of respondents felt that women were better than men. 44% of respondents (57% male, 55% female, trans 21%) said they have been treated unfairly for not conforming to gender stereotypes. And only 1% of respondents viewed mathematical and technical capabilities as more inherent to the female sex.

In 2015, the British media – and countless women in power – poured their efforts into exposing the gender pay gap and instances of gender inequality in the workplace. This is the time that Hillary Clinton is running for President; positive things are happening – that you would hope are filtering down to the next generation, and empowering young women. This report then, is a reality check that proves just how much there is to be done, and how slow the process is. If this is how 35% of the next generation of women feel, that is a very grave statistic, and instead of talking about gender in largely adult arenas, we need to move the conversation to education.

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