Look at any group of very young children playing. You’ll be hard pushed to see a gender difference in confidence.
Look at that same group when they get to school. Already the conditioning will have left it’s mark. Survey after survey tells us that boys claim more of a teacher’s attention ( or are are given it).
If they are naturally assertive girls, good at organising, they will be called ‘bossy’, not a positive term. Boys, on the other hand, will be praised for exhibiting similar behavioural traits.
Lets get into to the teens. Our girls (and boys, this has a very negative effect on them too) will be subject to a barrage of sexist media content and air brushed idealised visions of someone’s idea of what women should like (see Should Airbrushed Women Be Allowed).
Girls will begin to learn that even if they do well at school and get a really good degree they will earn less than their boy colleagues.
They will be seeing headlines that women earn less throughout their careers, regardless of qualifications.
They will also have seen nude women every day in a major newspaper. (More on that here) and had sexist comments made to them by complete strangers, ranging from the apparently inoffensive wolf whistle to unwanted touching.
And they will not have seen many women of substance and power in the news at all. Women need role models.
Lack of confidence would be a thing of the past if women did not have to compete in a world designed to favour men.
I wrote RenewYou very much with this information in mind. It’s not about teaching women to behave like men, but about giving them a space to recapture that feeling they had as youngsters – that they can do anything they put their mind to.
Posted on May 16th, 2014 by Jane