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Schools are holding girls back from success later in life, says expert


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The education system is to blame for women not being able to succeed in the workplace, according to the chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust.

Helen Fraser has observed that girls do not appear to be going through life with the same ease as boys, because they are allowing their “inner critic” to stop them. 

This “critic” is the result of being a part of a system that does not do enough to encourage girls to take risks, according to Fraser.

“We need to persuade girls to challenge that inner critic that judges you, tells you you’re not good enough, that your ideas aren’t worth hearing,” she said at her organisation's annual conference.

A study done by the National Citizen Service found that a quarter of British girls don’t consider themselves brave, and out of 1,000 surveyed 20% of girls aged 12-18 said they have never done anything adventurous.

According to Fraser schools push the female population to be “quiet, neat, good girls” and ultimately are setting them up for failure in the workplace.

Fraser believes that the root of this problem is that there is a 21st century pressure on young women to fit a certain criteria of perfection: “Perfectly beautiful, with a perfect row of As, perfectly good at sport and music and friendship," she said. 

Yet while girls do usually surpass their male peers in all levels of education, they generally end up earning a lower wage and not occupying senior positions in the workplace.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Fraser said, “Our girls do very well at school and at university and quite well at their first job, but they are not succeeding to the extent we would like them to.”

The Institute of Leadership and Management surveyed British managers about how confident they feel in their positions. Half of the female respondents answered that they have self-doubts in their job performance and career, while less than a third of male respondents felt the same way.

The lack of confidence in their abilities is ultimately being fostered in schools according to Fraser, who criticizes the system  for supporting “perfect good girl behaviours” and not persuading more females to speak up or stand out.  

 “And if the female half of the population is routinely censoring themselves, their ideas aren’t getting aired and implemented and the world is a poorer place.”


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