During this past week, I have been struck by a couple of news items which were to do with young women’s self-esteem. The first was a piece which mentioned Sport England’s #This Girl Can campaign as ground breaking; then a few days later I heard a discussion of how young women are surrounded by everyday sexism, thanks to pressures from the internet, and social media in particular.
It staggers me that somehow there is a feeling that our current generation of girls may be facing challenges again – different from those faced by my generation, but challenges all the same. The #This Girl Can ads are refreshing because they feature ‘real’ women – but it’s sad that there was a perceived need to run the campaign in the first place.
We have some fine and feisty girls who come to Inkpots. They talk about following careers in medicine, sports and the arts – a number want to be scientists. They know no boundaries when it comes to sport either; one of our older girls plays football for Brighton and Hove Football Club Academy and our website currently shows a girl who is part of a winning rugby team. There are girls who are on school councils, are part of debating groups and front class assemblies.
We would no more dream of saying that university would be a step too far for these girls, than suggest they should be the ones who learn to cook and clean, while male siblings pursue academic careers.
And yet. There are signs that somehow and somewhere these bright, intelligent girls might be really up against it as they grow up. I, for one, can’t bear the thought. Maybe a little late, my radar has been switched on to this – and I’ll be that much more aware of the challenges.
Because our girls really can!