If you only see one film in the cinema this year, make it this powerful Irish feature
If you only see one film in the cinema this year, make it this powerful...

Meg Walker

Postpartum Psychosis: ‘It hit me completely out of the blue’
Postpartum Psychosis: ‘It hit me completely out of the blue’

Amanda Cassidy

4 Irish female bosses on getting organised, confidence and the importance of creativity
4 Irish female bosses on getting organised, confidence and the importance of creativity

Shayna Sappington

Two beauty industry stalwarts have teamed up to save cruelty-free cosmetics in Europe
Two beauty industry stalwarts have teamed up to save cruelty-free cosmetics in Europe

Sarah Finnan

Why negotiating a ‘jobbymoon’ before you start your new job is actually a great idea
Why negotiating a ‘jobbymoon’ before you start your new job is actually a great idea

Erin Lindsay

Skin Proud is Glossier’s new 100% vegan and cruelty-free competitor
Skin Proud is Glossier’s new 100% vegan and cruelty-free competitor

Sarah Finnan

The dos and don’ts of supporting someone who might be suicidal
The dos and don’ts of supporting someone who might be suicidal

Erin Lindsay

‘You’re suddenly painfully aware of the fragility of all that is being asked of you as a mother’
‘You’re suddenly painfully aware of the fragility of all that is being asked of you...

Amanda Cassidy

What you need to know about Olivia Rodrigo and that plagiarism backlash
What you need to know about Olivia Rodrigo and that plagiarism backlash

Jennifer McShane

One of our readers’ favourite Irish homes from ‘IMAGE interiors’ is now on the market
One of our readers’ favourite Irish homes from ‘IMAGE interiors’ is now on the market

Lauren Heskin

Image / Editorial

Why We Need To Keep Telling Young Girls How Brilliant They Are


by Jennifer McShane
28th Jan 2017
blank

I haven’t had the best week. The last several days have been a blur of bad Trump-ness and my endlessly kicking myself for giving in to the unkind words of strangers, and I haven’t slept much. But it isn’t the best of times, and we’re all trying to look on the bright side. I met up with two great friends during the week, though, and we told each other our woes. I nodded in agreement as one told me her tendency to over-think every tiny detail was wearing her down while I advised the other to have a talk she was dreading. I encouraged and reassured; they were wonderful, kind women and advised that taking said steps would help. I wondered then, why I couldn’t impart that same kindness to myself. Why I always bite back, telling myself that I’m not trying hard enough and I’m setting myself up for a massive failure. The term ‘self-love’ is one that now can induce eye-rolling and negativity, but it’s so?important, even once in a while to say, you know what, you’re doing brilliantly. If you could go back and tell your younger self?anything, wouldn’t it be that?

And if I had a young daughter, I’d tell her that constantly; how brilliant she’s doing (I’d go one step further and mortify her by wearing it on a t-shirt with an arrow). This encouragement from a young age isn’t just needed in 2017 – it’s vital. And the results of a major US study are anything to go by; we need all the young women around us to hear them more than ever.

According to The Guardian, researchers in the US have found that primary school-age girls lack belief in their own abilities when compared to their male peers. Girls as young as six are convinced that boys are more innately brilliant or gifted than them. The research, published in the journal Science‘showed that girls – unlike boys – are more likely to put good grades down to hard work, rather than natural talent.

182656336

Psychologists from three American universities carried out a range of tests with 400 girls and boys aged between five and seven to examine how gender stereotypes affected children’s beliefs about intelligence and ability. They discovered that from as young as six, they are far less likely to believe in female intelligence, whereas six-year-old boys identified people of their own gender as being ‘really, really smart? 65% of the time – for girls of the same age, that figure shrank to 48%.

This study shows that girls are internalising those cultural messages early in development, believing that, yes they may work hard, but they are not naturally really smart.

Andrei Cimpian, a co-author of the research from New York University, said that the work highlights how even young children can absorb and be influenced by gender stereotypes – such as the idea that brilliance or giftedness is more common in men. ?”Already by this very young age girls are discounting the evidence that is in front of their eyes [academic success] and basing their ideas about who is really smart on other things,? he said.?Because these ideas are present at such an early age, they have so much time to affect the educational trajectories of boys and girls.? For example, girls from five to seven were likely to think that their gender would only get them good grades if they worked “really really hard.”

So, keep on telling any young girls you know, that they are brilliant. They need to see that being a girl doesn’t mean you always have to work “really, really hard” to be as good as the boys, you are and can be as good as them, regardless.

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
“A slap in the face for all the victims”: Outcry over Bill Cosby’s release from prison

This is why rape victims think twice before coming forward, writes Amanda Cassidy He was once known as “America’s Dad”...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
‘We have not heeded the warnings sufficiently’: The health emergency we’ve ignored while focusing on the pandemic

The climate change debate has been going on for so long its become white noise. But this week, the effects...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
When speaking about ageing, we should follow Julianne Moore’s lead

Actress Julianne Moore is tired of all the cliched tropes about female ageing. The way we speak about it; the...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
This is what happens when you hypersexualise young girls growing up

Who is demanding the fetishization of young girls anyway?”When I was working in my early twenties, and even my late...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
premium EDITORIAL
EVENT: How To Master the Art of Negotiation

We sit down with Negotiation Strategist Natalie Reynolds, discussing key tactics and strategies used to master the art of negotiation...

By Shayna Sappington

toxic
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

Full House, onscreen father Danny Tanner
EDITORIAL
We’re remembering our favourite onscreen dads for Father’s Day

With Father’s Day just around the corner (this Sunday 20h June, so yes, you do have time to buy yours...

By Grace McGettigan