Only One In Six Aussie Girls Feel Valued For Brains Over Looks, New Report Reveals

And more than 40 percent are reconsidering having a family.

11/10/2016 6:04 AM AEDT | Updated 11/10/2016 6:04 AM AEDT
Klaus Vedfelt
Girls felt most equal at school, but one in three said they did more housework than their brothers.

We've all witnessed it, been a culprit of it, or a recipient of it.

A girl goes to a barbecue with her parents and its blurted out; "Oh, what a beautiful daughter you have".

Not witty, intelligent, bright. Beautiful.

Well, a new report released by Our Watch and Plan International on Tuesday reveals only one in six Aussie girls between 16 and 19 feel valued for their intelligence over their appearance.

The Everyday sexism: girls' and young women's views on gender equality in Australia report, which surveyed 600 Aussie females about sexism in all aspects of life, has been released on International Day of the Girl.

I don't think we can stop it yet, but I think we can teach them the skills to critique it, to call it out and to create something different.Susanne Legena

Plan International Australia spokeswoman Susanne Legena told The Huffington Post Australia the report goes to the heart of those places where society is letting young girls down, whether it be at at work, online, in public or at home.

"They're not seeing equal representation. Thirty percent of the 2016 Parliament are women. Their experience of seeing a female prime minister probably wouldn't encourage them into public life," Legena said.

"There's all these scenarios in our culture that reinforce it is not the same to be a girl and a boy and that they're not given equal chances in everything."

The statistics show:

  • One in 10 girls believe they are always treated equally to males
  • One in three girls said they do more housework than their brothers
  • One in six girls believe they are given equal opportunities as boys
  • One in three girls believe gender inequality is still a problem in Australia

In a particularly startling statistic, 41 percent of girls surveyed witness a lack of support for women which has made them re-evaluate whether to start a family.

"They are probably witnessing that double bind that their mothers are experiencing of having careers and also running a house and not have things change, and its making them think 'I don't want that'.

"I think what these young women are saying is 'we want a new model. The one that we've got, it's kind of broken.' They want a new model, and I think there are men out there who want a different model too."

The report reveals gender stereotypes are still deeply embedded in Australian society, but also raises awareness for disengaged members of society to become part of the conversation.

"It amplifies the voices of young women but, for me, it also reaches out to dads and brothers and boyfriends and friends," Legena told HuffPost Australia.

"If it creates a bit of curiosity and interest in trying to understand more about what that experience is like for young women."

Positive outcomes from the report reveal the majority of girls felt equal at school, while two thirds of girls felt gender equality was improving from their parents' generation.

Young girls are now also reaching out for advice about entering sexual relationships, speaking to people they trust. However this is as a result of the pressure, intensified by the internet.

"You've got girls reporting that the online space is a place where they are overwhelmingly being exposed to online sexual imagery they didn't ask for and then they're pressured to send sexy images," Legena said.

"And if they don't go through with it or do speak out, they're often trolled as a backlash."

Awareness is the most important starting point for parents looking to help improve their daughters' perceptions of gender equality, Legena said.

"The whole culture is reinforcing it. I think the challenge for everyone is to start to be aware in our own lives so we can call it out and help girls and boys to see when it's happening in our culture."

"I don't think we can stop it yet, but I think we can teach them the skills to critique it, to call it out and to create something different."

And shy away from just calling them beautiful.

More On This Topic