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Three-quarters of girls 'have experienced gender inequality'

Poll for Girlguiding Scotland reveals girls and young women keenly feel gender-based inequality.

Teenager: Young women expressed concerns over their future careers (file pic).
Teenager: Young women expressed concerns over their future careers (file pic). epicantus

More than 75% of girls and young women in Scotland feel they are treated differently because of their gender, according to a survey.

The poll also reveals worries about access to career opportunities and balancing work with family life.

Girlguiding Scotland's research also shows 15% of the respondents felt unhappy most of the time.

Louise Macdonald, chairwoman of the First Minister's advisory council on women and girls, said: "It is shocking that in 2018 nearly eight in ten girls in Scotland say they experience gender inequality in their day-to-day lives, that nearly one in two girls feel they would have more freedom if they were a boy and that 45% of girls say becoming a leader in their careers will be harder because they are female.

"These figures, and the many others like them in this research, show that for all our progress we still have a long way to go to ensure girls in Scotland can feel truly equal in their everyday lives and future careers.

"I hope these findings will challenge decision-makers, educators, employers and everyone with a stake in girls' lives to play their part in delivering an equal future for girls as a matter of urgency."

As well as 77% saying they were treated differently because they are female, 28% of the respondents said that happened most or all of the time.

High expectations were expressed for equal treatment at home and in the workplace - with 86% saying they anticipate splitting childcare and housework equally with their partner.

Meanwhile, 91% said they expected to have the same career opportunities as men despite 45% believing it will be harder for them to be a leader in their field because they are female.

Eight in ten said they would not work for an employer who pays female employees less than males.

Hannah Brisbane, Girlguiding Scotland's lead volunteer for voice, said: "As our new research shows, gender inequality casts a long shadow over girls' everyday lives and their views of the future.

"We want to create a future where girls know the only limit on what they can achieve is their imagination and a present where girls can feel safe and happy in their everyday lives.

"We hope this research will play an important role in highlighting the issues girls are up against and how we can all play a part in making Scotland the best possible place to be a girl."

The survey involved 540 respondents aged between seven and 25.

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