Girls as young as seven feel the impact of gender stereotyping

Group of girls

A new survey by Girlguiding UK shows the extent to which girls feel restricted

Girls as young as seven feel under pressure to be quieter, neater and more emotional than their male peers. They also feel that they're expected to be more creative than boys – who are presumed to be stronger and more logical.

Girlguiding UK surveyed 2000 girls aged from seven to 21 for their girls' attitudes survey. Of those surveyed, around half said they felt less confident than boys at putting their hand up in class.

Only 36% of girls surveyed felt that gender stereotypes made them feel more determined to overcome these barriers. Two-thirds felt confident about challenging their parents' views, and said that being seen as “girly” was seen negative.

The remaining two-thirds of respondents said that gender stereotypes were having a negative impact on them – . they made them feel angry, under pressure to conform, and less confident about the future. Lastly, 15% of those surveyed felt they were less important than the boys around them.

Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts said the figures were depressing but not surprising. “Gender stereotyping is pernicious, and overcoming it calls for vigilance on a number of fronts – media; advertising; family, friends and school; hobbies and interests – and, most importantly, talking to your children about the subtle messages they're receiving.”

She added that this was a tough battle for parents to fight on their own, but outstanding female role models and the successes achieved by campaigns such as Let Toys Be Toys showed that an ever-growing number of businesses, institutions and individuals are ready to be won over.