05 Nov Listen to what girls say about skills & education
We tend to think that as time moves on we make progress and actualise positive change in education and skills, and of course, this is true in many ways, but I was genuinely shocked to read the Girl’s Attitude Survey 2019 by Girlguiding, the leading charity for girls and women in the UK. They have been providing a platform since 2009 for girls and young women to speak out on the issues that matter to them.
This comment as part of the attitudes survey for 17-21 year olds could have been plucked from a 1980’s school experience; “girls may be less likely to study physics, maths or computer science because society makes us believe that these subjects are more suitable for men”. The statistics show that there is still such a long way to go to break down these stereotypes.
Let’s throw a few more eye openers in – nearly two thirds of 11-21 year olds feel there is too much pressure and focus on doing well in exams and 59% worry that not doing well in their exams will ruin their future opportunities. Half of the girls are being put off from being leaders because they believe women leaders are criticised more than male leaders and 46% are put off because they don’t have enough confidence. The message from the survey is that growing up as a girl today is stressful. Please read more in the full report here.
Girls told Girlguiding that action needs to be taken on the issues that girls and young women care about. Girlguiding certainly listened and we can do that too, by continuing to take positive steps toward supporting those girls and women via our actions as ‘real-models’ providing employer engagement. The Gaia Inspiration for Innovation programme can help to reduce the negative impact of some of the issues raised, including support on the lead up to exams, where Education and Employers research shows multiple engagements prior to the exam period can help improve motivation to revise and lift grades, especially in English. We can give careers support by making visits into school as part of the wider curriculum, as girls are keen for schools to give both boys and girls the same support and we can give great advice to women and girls about the skills they might need to progress into leadership roles, because 1 in 5 are put off career progression due to lack of knowledge.
Let’s continue to try and raise the aspiration of all girls and women so that they can have the chance to realise their full potential and be a real force for good.
The Girlguiding survey, which is now in its 11th year included responses from over 2000 girls and women aged 7 to 21, both inside and outside of guiding. We hope that you have found the survey information as interesting as we did and take a moment to realise that your contribution as a volunteer and ‘real-model’ are so important to help effect change for these young women.