Sexism, Feminism & Equality - What Teens in Canada Really Think

Download PDF Version Here

Sexism, Feminism & Equality:

What Teens in Canada Really Think

No content found

Yes, Sexism Exists – And It Starts Early

Girls are more likely than boys to report feeling the impact of gender inequality: girls are twice as likely as boys (43% vs. 21%) to report experiencing sexism, and to say that gender inequality has impacted their life (35% vs. 20%). One in three girls (35%) also say they have been treated unequally or unfairly because of their gender (vs. 21% of boys).

stats chart

For girls who report unequal treatment, these discriminatory experiences are unfortunately all too common. Among girls who say they’ve been treated unequally or unfairly because of their gender, one in four (23%) say it happens regularly. While boys do report unequal treatment, they are significantly more likely to say they are rarely treated unequally or unfairly because of their gender (36% vs. 16% of girls). When asked to express the impact of inequality in their own words, girls spoke about having fewer opportunities and not being taken seriously. For example, one respondent said, “I have felt that my opinions aren't often taken as seriously because I am not a boy.” Another said, “Girls [are] forced to re-do things in school because [the] teacher didn't believe they did it better/faster than the boys. [They] thought the girls had cheated because there was no way the girls could do better than the boys.”

Experiences of inequality appear to start early: teens report noticing gender inequality in their lives for the first time around 11 years of age on average, with more than half of girls (54%) saying they first noticed it between the ages of 10 and 13. Regrettably, many young people notice inequality in their lives before they are even a teenager.

As the #MeToo movement has revealed, sexual harassment and violence are critical issues impacting gender equality. Past GGC research has found that sexual harassment and violence are far from being adult-only issues: in 2017, 41% of girls ages 15-17 said that they knew a girl who reported being harassed but wasn’t believed.1 

It’s worth noting that external research tells us that some girls might experience sexism but not register or name it as such.2 Sexism may be invisible, but it still has a very real impact on girls’ lives – it is crucial that we keep pushing to understand and name the problem so that we can solve it, together.

1 Girl Guides of Canada, International Day of the Girl 2017: Nationwide Survey of Teenage Girls in Canada (2017),

2 Shauna Pomerantz and Rebecca Raby, Smart Girls: Success, School, and the Myth of Post-Feminism (Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2017).

No content found

No content found

No content found

No content found