Girls' 'Lack of Life Skills' Lamented; GENDER: Traditional Divisions between Sexes Becoming a Thing of the Past

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), February 7, 2002 | Go to article overview

Girls' 'Lack of Life Skills' Lamented; GENDER: Traditional Divisions between Sexes Becoming a Thing of the Past


Byline: TOMOS LIVINGSTONE

BOYS will be boys, but girls can be just as keen on male pursuits. New research suggests gender differences between children are fast becoming a thing of the past.

Traditional educational divisions which saw boys doing metalwork and girls enjoying cookery have long since disappeared, and girls are now outperforming boys in almost all exam subjects.

A new report published today from the Guides Association, once a bastion of female virtues, laments the decline of "life skills" among girls.

Despite the massive sales of Delia Smith's book on the subject, 40pc of schoolgirls in Britain do not know how to boil an egg, the report suggests, although many parents will doubt the ability of the average teenage boy to complete the same task.

The Guides Association also thinks it has pinpointed one of the causes of the decline - mobile phones.

According to its report, more than a fifth of girls send more text messages to their friends than have conversations with members of their family.

The organisation said it was developing activities designed to teach girl guides the "three Cs" of communication, cash management and caring.

Young females lacked these skills, the group said.

But girls, it seems, are just as keen to take on traditionally male pursuits as the boys are.

A spokeswoman for Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Europe's largest youth movement, said that differences between boys and girls had virtually disappeared when it came to competing on the sports fields.

The movement has recently run a rugby competition for schools, in which 80pc of the teams contained girls.

"Things have changed a lot from the days when we had camps for boys and camps for girls, " a spokeswoman said. "We still see boys playing rugby and girls playing netball, but the days when boys wouldn't play against girls have gone, I think."

Guide Association chief executive Denise King said, "These research findings reinforce what we have felt for some time, and our activity programmes will continue to reflect the need for young girls to learn key life skills.

"What we need now is to encourage more women across the UK to become leaders and ensure these life skills are being carried down to the younger generation. …

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