International Day of the Girl



The Challenge

International Day of the Girl was first adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December of 2011; its purpose is to recognize girls’ rights and the challenges that girls face around the globe. By addressing these problems, the goal is to empower girls across the world so they can reach their full potential. Considering this, and given the current political and cultural climate in the United States, what is the status of gender norms across the country– especially among our youth? Are women seen as stronger figures in society, or are men still considered totally in charge?

The Strategy

Ahead of this year’s International Day of the Girl, we partnered up with Save the Children to assess children’s perceptions of gender norms and compare these results to similar research conducted by Save the Children in West Africa. We surveyed 500 4th grade children in the United States about their views on gender; we also asked their parents a few questions on the subject. 4th graders were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with 10 statements, such as “The father is in charge of the home,” and “Boys are smarter than girls.”

After the 4th graders completed their portion of the survey, parents were given some of these same statements and asked on a scale of 0-10 how much they agreed with each statement. They were also asked whether they agreed with some more complicated statements, such as “Women and girls are at a disadvantage here in the U.S.” Additionally, we asked parents if they had talked to their 4th grader about how to treat children of the same age and opposite gender, if they believed their 4th grader had typical views on gender for a child their age, and if there should be an age minimum for getting married in the United States and around the globe.

The Results



Overall, when comparing our results to the research conducted by Save the Children in West African, we found that 4th graders have much less biased views on gender here in the United States. With that being said, bias can start young: nearly two in five 4th grade boys believe that boys are smarter than girls, and seventeen (17) percent of 4th graders believe a man would make a better boss than a woman. The results from parents prove that bias continues to grow with age; additionally, most parents believe their children have typical views for children their age. While there is clearly more work to do on combating gender bias, our results show that this bias can be combated from a young age.

As a part of a major media campaign from Save the Children, our results were picked up by multiple major media outlets, including the Huffington Post, Newsweek, Salon, The Salt Lake Tribune, Cheddar, Fast Company, Global Moms Challenge, and Parents.

See the press release from Save the Children by clicking here.