MONCTON – A survey released by the United Way of Greater Moncton shows self-esteem in young girls is at an all-time low.
The results were from a “Youth Developmental Assets Survey” where almost 6,000 youth between grades 6-12 were asked to assess their overall skill sets, relationships and attitudes toward the future.
The study shows about 70 per cent of teenage girls feel they have fewer career options, many struggle with self-image and experts say they are more likely to engage in risky behavior.
“I think there is a lot of pressure that the boys are smarter than girls the boys are better at math than girls,” said 16-year-old high school student Sarah Mitchell.
And according to the YWCA’s Beth Lyons, Sarah is not alone.
“There’s a lot of pressure on girls and we are kind of setting them up to fail, they just can’t meet these expectations we have laid out for them,” said Lyons. “There is a reason we don’t see a ton of girls going into the technical trade fields. It’s not because they can’t, it’s these pressures and the way they have been socialized.”
Lyons said girls with low self-esteem are more likely to dabble in drugs and alcohol, drink and drive and have unprotected sex.
“They are seeing women who are fired for being strong leaders and women who are dismissed for being temperamental and catty,” she said.
She believes what young girls need is stronger adult female role models volunteering within schools and for the general workforce to be more open to hiring both genders.
The survey was done through the Anglophone East and Francophone school districts.