By listening to teens in Canada and seeking to understand their everyday experiences, Girl Guides of Canada (GGC) has identified how young people feel about gender inequality and how this inequality impacts their lives. Overwhelmingly, teens support gender equality in principle and acknowledge that gender inequality persists in Canada. At the same time, many young people still hold harmful stereotypes about gender. These findings are based on a nationwide Ipsos survey of girls and boys primarily1 aged 12-17 in September 2018 which asked key questions about attitudes and behaviours related to gender inequality, sexism and feminism.
GGC commissioned this survey because girls told us that sexism isn’t just an issue that adults face. Given how quickly the world is changing for girls today, it is more important than ever to actively listen to girls' voices and understand their perspectives. At the same time, it is important to evaluate the extent to which these issues are gendered, and to understand the broader context in which girls’ experiences are taking place. For these reasons, this research was conducted with both girls and boys. As the leading organization for girls and women in Canada, we need to understand what girls experience so that we can support girls to become everything they want to be. Society needs to make meaningful space for girls and actively listen to girls’ voices, so that decision-makers, service providers and institutions can be responsive to girls’ needs. We challenge adults in Canada – caregivers, teachers, coaches, family members, and neighbours – to listen to what girls are saying so that they can play their part, too.
This report focuses on findings related to young people’s current experiences of inequality and sexism. Knowing that different identities like gender, race, class, ability, etc., overlap and lead to different experiences of inequality, the survey was distributed to a diverse group of young people. Survey respondents included a range of ethnicities, household incomes, and geographic regions and communities to reflect the overall population and a range of lived experiences. We asked these young people where and how gender inequality takes place in their lives. In the process, we uncovered a disconnect between support for gender equality in principle and the persistence of harmful gendered stereotypes.