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Gender stereotypes 'are affecting behaviour of young girls'

25/09/2017 Joanna

Teachers need to be doing more to address the potentially harmful impact that gender-based stereotypes could be having on the development of young girls.

This is according to a new survey from Girlguiding, which suggested that girls and young women are encountering gender stereotypes in all areas of their lives, whether this be in school or online, on TV, in films, in newspapers and among friends and family.

It was shown that 55 per cent of females aged seven to 21 say the pressures of gender stereotypes affect their ability to say what they think, while 57 per cent are affected in what they wear and 51 per cent are influenced in how they behave among peers.

The report also demonstrated that 51 per cent see gender stereotypes affecting what sport and exercise they do, with 47 per cent saying stereotypes have an impact on how much they participate in class.

The most common place young women see gender stereotypes perpetuated is on social media, with 65 per cent of those aged 11 to 21 saying they are often confronted with them, while 64 per cent come across them on TV, in films, magazines and newspapers.

Of concern to schools is the fact that 33 per cent of those polled say teachers have a role to play in perpetuating these stereotypes, which often serve to make young women feel less confident, more angry or increasingly anxious about their future.

Sophie Wallace, a member of Girlguiding's Advocate Panel, said: "There is still much more work to be done. Society needs to understand that gender stereotypes aren't just harmful but a barrier to progress."

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