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Girls 'believe women judged on beauty'

Press Association logoPress Association 4/10/2016

Girls as young as seven believe women are judged on beauty not brains, a British survey has revealed.

More than one-third (35 per cent) of seven- to 10-year-old girls agreed that women were rated more on their appearance than their abilities - and 36 per cent said they were made to feel their looks were their most important attribute, the Girlguiding's Girls' Attitudes Survey 2016 found.

Campaigners said the findings showed the need to combat the "objectification and harassment" that are "ruining girls' lives".

The survey also revealed low levels of body confidence among girls.

Thirty-eight per cent of seven- to 10-year-olds said they felt they were not pretty enough, while 23 per cent said they felt they needed to be "perfect" and 15 per cent said they felt embarrassed or ashamed by the way they looked.

Across seven- to 21 year-olds, there has been a five-year decline in levels of body confidence, the survey found.

In 2011, almost three-quarters of girls (73 per cent) said they were happy with the way they looked, compared with 61 per cent this year.

Fawcett Society chief executive Sam Smethers said women and girls were "persistently judged on what they look like" and suffered "significantly higher" rates of depressions and mental illness.

"This is serious. As a society we need to face up to the fact that objectification and harassment is ruining girls' lives and we are letting it happen," she said.

Dr Carole Easton, chief executive of the Young Women's Trust, said the survey revealed the presence of "gender inequality" from a young age.

"If we are serious about ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to get on in life, then much more must be done to ensure a level playing field - starting from childhood and into young adulthood, not least by challenging gender stereotypes," she said.

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