July 29, 2016

Leading UK charity says young girls are growing up less confident

Girlguiding, a UK charity, has conducted research that suggests that the older girls get, the less confidence they have.

The research, which polled 1,627 girls and young women, reveals that they believe themselves to have less power than their male counterparts as they progress through secondary school. Only a third of those aged 17–21 consider themselves able to do as well as their male counterparts.

When asked the same question, 90% of girls aged 9–10 believe that they can achieve as much as boys, dropping to 54% of those aged 11–16

The charity’s Chief Executive, Julia Bentley, says: “This new research shows girls are lacking in confidence at an important stage in their lives when they are starting to think about the future, enter work or begin university,” and notes that: “As the UK’s leading charity for girls and young women it’s our responsibility to change this.”

Girlguiding believes that the results of the research show that as young women are made more aware of the obstacles that they may face in the workplace, their perception of what they can achieve significantly changes. In order to tackle the issues, Bentley says that Girlguiding can help: “Guiding builds girls’ confidence and empowers them to take on leadership roles from the very earliest age—giving them the safe space and support they need to grow and develop their potential.”

Another study, carried out by the Association of Graduate Recruiters, finds that although young women are less likely to apply for top jobs than men, they are more likely to be hired if they do apply

In his article on gender differences in competitiveness, Mario Lackner also discusses approaches to competitiveness and notes that “Abundant empirical evidence indicates that multiple influences shape attitudes towards competition during different periods of the life cycle.” While in his IZA World of Labor article, Antonio Filippin concludes that: “Finding that risk preferences play a limited role, if any, leaves plenty of room for policies aimed at eliminating discrimination and supporting women’s participation in the labor market.”

Related articles:
Gender differences in competitiveness, by Mario Lackner
Gender differences in risk attitudes, by Antonio Filippin