International Day of the Girl: Smashing Stereotypes
October 09, 2021 - Alice Barnes
It’s International Day of the Girl! A day celebrated all over the world to raise awareness of obstacles that girls all over the world face, as well as a chance to shine a light on their achievements. In 2021, we’re standing with Fawcett Society to fight for equality and smash stereotypes with women reaching high power positions, dominating the sports field and redefining gender roles.
Fawcett Society has run a report on Gender Stereotypes in Early Childhood called “Unlimited Potential”. It sets out how gender expectations significantly limit our children, causing problems such as lower self-esteem in girls and poorer reading skills in boys.
In this blog, we’ll be sharing important statistics from this report and looking to Team Tatty to see how we smash stereotypes in our lives.
Let’s start with Liz, our Merchandiser and a superstar cycler...
“I’ve competed in an ultra race where the field was only 7.7% women and I finished in the top 30% of the field. Women can rough it and sleep out in the wild and fix their own bikes. I had a fairly catastrophic mechanical failure in the last 50km but fixed it and managed to finish.”
Photo by Carlos Mazon
Can she fix it? Yes, she can! At an early age, boys are 4 times as likely as girls to want to become engineers. This shocking statistic stems from gender stereotypes causing girls, by the age of six, to avoid studying subjects that require them to be “really, really smart”. In the UK, only 12.37% of all engineers are women.
Next up it’s our Production & Development Manager Flo…
"My partner and I don't do gender roles, the roles we choose in our relationship reflect who we are as people rather than our gender. We're expecting a baby next year and are super excited to be sharing our parental leave 50/50 - something fewer than 5% of couples choose for all different reasons.
We refuse to listen to anyone who tells us that men need to be financial providers while women provide emotional support to the family. We both want the chance to bond with and care for our baby in its early years as well as continuing and maintaining both of our careers"
Right on, Flo! The expectation that men should be the breadwinner, a trope that is pushed from childhood contributes to a large number of male suicide rates. By challenging these gender stereotypes, we can tackle the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.
Let’s skate on over to Lucy, our Ecommerce & Digital Marketing Manager…
“Although it's been a while since I strapped on 8 wheels and took to the track, I am always proud of smashing stereotypes when I hit the track with my roller derby team, London Rockin' Rollers. In school, I always loved sports and always felt conscious about it not being a "girly" thing to be into which is so ridiculous. It was always geared more towards the boys and I found it SO frustrating. So much so that in fact I dropped all sports after school and only picked it up again when I found roller derby in my early twenties when I cared less about what people thought.
Yes, I can be feminine AND play a full-contact sport, thanks! There is a massive need for sports teams to be more welcoming to women of all ages, abilities and body shapes - promoting healthy, strong bodies (which by the way, can all look COMPLETELY different)”
Fawcett Society’s Unlimited Potential report looked into the type of slogans seen on children clothes for boys and girls. Boys adventurous and sporty sides are pushed with “Adventure is out there” (John Lewis), “Bold and Brave” (George) and “Unstoppable” (Primark) whereas for the girls it’s a clear focus on how you look on the outside with “Glitter on!” (Matalan) or telling them how to feel “Happy” (Primark) - the kids equivalent of that man telling you to smile on the street?
Why can’t boys be told that “Best friends stay together” and be allowed to be expressive or friendly? Why can’t girls go on a “Space Mission” (John Lewis) and nurture their scientific interests?
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