Inequality starts young

Inequality starts young

By Cassandra Charlesworth

It would be nice to think we’d learned some lessons and the generation of girls currently growing up in our homes will have a future framed by equality. But a recent report by the ABC indicates this may not be the case.

Not only do girls undertake more domestic chores than boys, if they’re rewarded with pocket money, chances are they’re paid less.

Here’s an insight into some interesting findings that indicate gender inequality starts in the home, and yes, you’re probably perpetuating the problem.

The study

Earlier this year the ABC partnered with the University of Melbourne to undertake some intriguing research. In it, they surveyed 10,000 primary and high school students to understand how they help out in the home at school and in the community.

The results reveal some warning signs that gender inequality starts a lot earlier than we think, and as parents, we might be perpetuating the trend.

While the survey found most children were actively contributing across the range of sectors, the ABC notes “…it also revealed Australian girls are doing more housework compared to their male counterparts, they’re helping out more at school and are contributing more to local clubs compared to boys.

“And, for those who get pocket money as a reward, girls are also being paid less than boys.”

So how does this play out?

The statistics

The reality is the statistics aren’t as dire as they once would have been, but there is room for improvement, with the findings indicating the following trends:

Cleaning and tidying – 60 per cent of girls note they regularly clean or tidy, compared to 50 per cent of boys.

Caring for siblings - About 51 per cent of girls said they regularly looked after siblings compared to 42 per cent of boys.

Compassion - 81 per cent of girls said they regularly helped other people feel better when they were sad or angry, compared to 63 per cent of boys.

Pocket money - 53 per cent of boys are paid pocket money compared to 49 per cent of girls.

Meanwhile, of those rewarded with pocket money, boys were likely to be paid more. Seventy-five per cent of girls were likely to be paid less than $10 compared to 66 per cent of boys, while 11 per cent of boys were paid more than $25 compared to seven per cent of girls.

The bright side

The findings may indicate equality is still a while away but there was a bright side, and it came in the form of social responsibility.

·       Girls are more likely to call out bullying (over 70 per cent, compared to 60 per cent of boys)

·       Girls are more likely to help take care of the environment (70 per cent, compared to 40 per cent of boys)

·       Girls are more likely to help others with their homework (65 per cent, compared to 45 per cent of boys)

·       Girls are more likely to help people they don’t know (40 per cent, compared to 30 per cent of boys)

Meanwhile, boys had innate strengths too.

·       Boys are more likely to help adults with technology (over 60 per cent, compared to 55 per cent of girls)

·       Boys are more likely to help others online (40 per cent, compared to 30 per cent of girls)

And in many cases, regardless of gender, children are happy to help.

“More than a third of girls and a quarter of the boys said they felt happy while helping. A similar percentage of children said they felt proud while helping out.”

Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer with 20 years’ journalism experience. She loves a good old-fashioned story and getting to the heart of a great yarn. She’s also a mum to three children who have encouraged her to hone some secret skills. Nimbly navigating Lego pieces left on her loungeroom floor and creating stylish Barbie attire from all manner of household objects are just a couple of credentials she’s recently added to her resume.

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