New Girlguiding research: Only 1 in 3 young women entering the world of work think they'll be as successful as men

25 July 2016

Today we released new research revealing only a third (35%) of young women aged 17 to 21 entering the world of work and further study think they will be as successful as their male counterparts

This is compared to a massive 90% of 9-10 year olds who think boys and girls have the same chance of succeeding in their careers, and 54% of 11-16 year olds.  

The data suggests girls’ confidence plummets as they progress through secondary school, onto university and work, and are exposed to the barriers facing women in the workplace. 

The research shows girls feel less proud of themselves, less powerful and less confident as they get older. Only 31% of young women aged 17-21 feel confident in themselves, compared to 63% of 7-10 year olds and 39% of 11-16 year olds. 

In response to girls feeling this way, Girlguiding launched Camp CEO 2016 this week (24 to 28 July). The five-day event will see some of the UK’s top female business leaders, including Google’s Chloe Arrowsmith,  Sevasti Wong, a Managing Director at Accenture, HS2’s Commercial Director Beth West and Girlguiding’s own CEO Julie Bentley inspire girls to aim for the top.

During the camp, held at Wyboston Lakes in Bedfordshire, twenty girls aged 14 to 17 will be mentored by leading female executives from fields including engineering, finance, retail and the charity sector.

They will receive one-to-one mentoring and expert career advice on how to overcome challenges and build confidence, develop interview techniques and networking skills.

Girlguiding’s Chief Executive Julie Bentley said: 'Guiding builds girls’ confidence and empowers them to take on leadership roles from the very earliest age - giving them the safe space and support they need to grow and develop their potential.

'Yet this new research shows girls are lacking in confidence at an important stage in their lives when they are starting to think about the future, enter work or begin university.

'As the UK’s leading charity for girls and young women it’s our responsibility to change this through opportunities like Camp CEO – bringing together girls with successful female role models to fuel their ambition and build their confidence.'

These dismal statistics highlight a real need to build confidence in girls and young women. Certainly, my own experience as a girl guide helped develop my confidence and determination to succeed. This is why I am happy to be lending a hand, as a mentor to this generation of Guides, at the Camp CEO event - Chloe Arrowsmith, HR Business Partner at Google

HS2’s Commercial Director, Beth West said: 'I’m delighted to support the launch of Girlguiding Camp CEO 2016 and to be given the opportunity to be a mentor to young women, thereby helping them to build their confidence and develop their potential at this crucial stage of their lives.'

'I hope that my experience of working in banking, at Transport for London and with HS2 will inspire and encourage young women to feel there are no barriers to achieving their goals at school, in further education or in their chosen careers and to feel proud of their achievements, however large or small.

'I’m also looking forward to learning from them, through taking part in the outdoor activities planned for the camp!'

Sevasti Wong, a Managing Director at Accenture, said: 'There is much more we can do to help young women be confident and reach their potential when they enter the world of work.

'We have to dispel the myth that STEM subjects are only for boys, and that maths and science are too hard for girls. We have to encourage young women to develop their digital skills so they can find the great jobs they aspire to and be successful.

'Our own research shows the impact of digital fluency is profound. If we can double the pace at which women become digitally fluent, the world could achieve gender equality in the workplace by 2040. Just imagine that!'

Anousa Parkin, 17, who attended Camp CEO two years ago said: 'Taking part in the camp and meeting the CEOs really helped boost my confidence. It made me believe I could succeed doing whatever I wanted and showed me there isn’t just one type person who can become a leader or businesswoman.

'Since Camp CEO I have set up my own business, selling my own artwork, cards and decorations at craft fairs and Teenage Markets. The skills and the confidence I gained from the camp really helped me in doing this.'

After the hard work there will be time for the professionals to experience a taste of the Girlguiding adventure – as they join in with adrenalin-fuelled activities such as water skiing and riding a hovercraft.

Camp CEO is able to take place thanks to generous funding to Girlguiding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation.