Statistics: Girls Today

All youth, boys and girls, face challenges when making the transition from childhood, through adolescence and into early adulthood. Research shows, however, that girls seem to be more greatly affected by the issues facing our youth today. This impact can last well into adulthood and affect overall mental and physical health. Girls empowerment programs have been proven to help girls mitigate the effects of the pressures and detrimental effects of social media and bullying and set them up for a healthy future.

Let’s look at some current statistics according to the Canadian Women’s Foundation (2017):

 
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Popular media

-Social media is the source of sexualization.

-Social scientists have found that exposure to sexualized images and messages can lead to body dissatisfaction, disordered eating, depression and low self- esteem.

-In a study of Ontario students, girls were 22% more likely than boys to spend 5 or more hours per day on social media.

-25.8% of girls in grades 7-12 report being victims of cyberbullying, compared to 14% of boys the same age.

-Scientists have found that girls who show high levels of “internalized sexualization” (meaning they believe that sexual attractiveness is an important part of their identity) earn lower grades on standardized tests than their peers.

stereotyping

-In Canada, girls and boys aged 15, who had the same average test scores on tests measuring scientific ability. Yet, boys are twice as likely as girls to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects than girls.

-Girls who scored the highest on math ability were still less likely than boys who scored the lowest to pursue STEM subjects in University.

-This has lead scientists to believe that it’s a lack of confidence that causes these girls to question their ability to succeed in these traditionally male dominated subjects.

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assault

-Girls experience sexual assault at a much higher rate than boys. In 2012, 81% of all sexual assault victims under the age of 18 were female.

-When girls are sexually assaulted, 88% of the time the perpetrator is someone they know.

-In Ontario high schools, 27% of girls said they were pressured into doing something sexual they didn’t want to do, and almost half have been the victim of unwanted sexual comments or gestures.

mental health

-More girls aged 10-17 are hospitalized for mental disorders than boys of the same age.

-In Canada, suicide remains the third- leading cause of death for girls aged 10-14, and second-leading cause of death for girls aged 15-22.

-12% of girls in Canada aged 12-19 say they have experienced a major depressive episode at some point in their lives.

How do Girls Empowerment Programs help to defeat these statistics?

-Research shows that 60% of Canadians who say they are very confident had a mentor in their youth.

-Mentorship is a key method to increasing confidence to help make girls resilient to the effects of stress, peer pressure, the impact of social media and mental health issues.

-Parents of daughters who have been involved in an empowerment program report their daughters become more confident, are less shy, more physically active, gain increased problem solving and communication ability and are better able to deal with bullying (Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2017).

M Power ensures that mentorship remains a focus of our girls programs. peer mentorship will be a crucial factor in ensuring girls walk away feeling more confident, at peace with who they are as an individual and the part they play in the community.