Magazine article USA TODAY

Girls Resisting Sexual Stereotyping

Magazine article USA TODAY

Girls Resisting Sexual Stereotyping

Article excerpt

Girls are still constrained by outmoded sexual stereotypes that reduce their quality of life and lower expectations for their futures, according to a survey of 1,000 girls in grades three to 12 conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc., for Girls Inc. At the same time, the girls report strong confidence in their abilities and their future prospects.

"Girls are getting the message that they can do anything boys can, but they feel frustrated by obsolete stereotypes that hold them back from reaching their goals," notes Isabel Carter Stewart, national executive director of Girls Inc. While 47% said that girls and boys have the same abilities and strengths, just 29% of boys agreed with that statement.

Among the findings, 52% of girls said that people think girls are only interested in love and romance; 59% said that girls are told not to brag about things they do well; 65% said that girls are expected to spend a lot of their time on housework and taking care of younger children; and 62% said that, in school, boys think they have a right to discuss girls' bodies in public.

Moreover, 60% said they experience stereotypes that limit their right to be themselves and resist sexual stereotypes; 62% said they experience stereotypes that limit their right to accept and appreciate their bodies; 52% said they experience stereotypes that limit their right to express themselves with originality and enthusiasm; 50% said they experience stereotypes that limit their right to take risks, strive freely, and take pride in success; 54% said they experience stereotypes that limit their right to have confidence in themselves and to be safe in the world; and 36% say they experience stereotypes that limit their right to prepare for interesting work and economic independence. …

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