Canadian Girls (43%) Twice As Likely As Boys (21%) To Have Experienced Sexism

Canada’s Next Generation Believes In Gender Equality

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  • Rachel Weiss Research Analyst, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, October 24, 2018 — Gender-based inequality is not a problem that is exclusive to adults, rather it permeates into the lives of Youth as well. According to a new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Girl Guides of Canada (GGC), which investigated the experiences of Canadian Youth in terms of gender inequality, girls are twice as likely as boys to have experienced sexism. More than four in ten (43%) girls between the ages of 12 and 17 report that they have experienced sexism, compared to two in ten (21%) boys.

Given this, it is unsurprising that girls are significantly more likely than boys to agree that they are concerned about gender inequality (64% vs. 49% of boys). Among girls, race appears to have an impact on one’s concern of gender inequality; girls who identify as Asian, Indigenous, or Black are significantly more likely to agree that this is a concern of theirs (75% vs. 62% of girls who identify as White).

Girls are also significantly more likely to report that gender inequality has impacted their life (35% vs. 20% of boys), and that they have been treated unequally or unfairly because of their gender (35% of girls vs. 20% of boys). Among girls who indicate that they have been treated unequally or unfairly, one in four (23%) say that happens regularly, while boys are significantly more likely to indicate that this is something which occurs rarely (36% vs. 16% of girls). While some girls cited experiences like sexual harassment or gender-based violence, the largest proportion of girls noted that there were fewer opportunities for them to play or complete in sports.

Girls Say They Are Treated Worse in Sports and Online

When asked about their treatment in various scenarios and locations, nearly three in ten (27%) girls say they treated worse because of their gender in sports or at the gym. Conversely, 15% of boys say that they are treated better in these locations because of their gender. One in four (24%) girls also believe that they are treated worse online, including on social media. Again, 14% of boys believe that they are treated better online and over social media than girls.

Gender Inequalities Exist Among Youth

Women continue to earn less than men in Canada and around the world, but according to the nationwide poll, Canadian girls are also earning less than boys. In terms of full-time summer jobs, boys ages 12-18 on average earned $18.01 per hour, while girls in the same age cohort earned just $15.43 per hours – a nearly $3 difference.

Given that experiences of inequality are not limited to adults, it is perhaps unsurprising that some Youth also hold gender-based prejudices. One in four (24%) believe that boys are more capable than girls when it comes to doing things in society such as learning math and science, playing sports, and taking the lead. This belief is significantly more common among boys (31%), when compared to girls (18%). Two in ten (19% -- 21% of boys vs. 18% of girls) also agree that girls should still aspire to get married, stay at home, and have kids, while a slightly smaller proportion (16% -- 18% of boys vs. 13% of girls) indicates that girls are inferior to boys.

Three in ten (30%) girls and boys say that they are scared or hesitant to speak out and advocate for the equal rights of girls and women because of what might happen to them. This demonstrates that Youth may need more support and access to safe spaces.

Canada’s Next Generation Is Conscious

While there are undoubtedly certain stereotypes that still need to be overcome, Canada’s future leaders show to be optimistically progressive - virtually all (96%) boys and girls indicated that they believe in equal rights for all genders, and that women should be treated equally to men in all areas based on their competency, rather than their gender. More than nine in ten (93%) agree that they have the power to make decisions for themselves in terms of their life and future. In fact, girls (96% vs. 91% of boys) were significantly more likely to agree with this statement.

The majority of Youth are supportive of the #MeToo movement – 75% agree that this is a positive development in society. However, girls (80% vs. 71% of boys) are significantly more likely to show support. Interestingly, household income appears to impact one’s view on this movement; girls whose family’s household income is less than $40K (67% vs. 80% of girls overall) are also less likely to agree with this statement.

Four in ten (43%) say that they would describe themselves as a feminist, with another four in ten (41%) agreeing that they are comfortable calling themselves a feminist in public. Perhaps unsurprisingly, girls are significantly more likely to label themselves as a feminist (51% vs. 34% of boys), as well as being comfortable referring to themselves as such in public (50% vs. 33% of boys). Among girls, agreement with these statements increases with age – 45% of girls 12-14 agree that they would describe themselves as a feminist, while more than half (56%) of girls 15-17 would label themselves as such. Age also impacts the likelihood that a girl would feel comfortable calling themselves a feminist in public (43% of 12-14-year-olds vs. 56% among 15-17-year-olds).

Most Youth are in agreement (81%) that it is important for girls to have access to spaces dedicated to girls and women. Among girls who identify as Asian, Indigenous or Black, this proportion rises to nine in ten (88% vs. 79% who identify as White). Canadian Youth also see the importance of learning about consent in school; more than nine in ten agree (93%), with boys (93%) and girls (92%) being nearly unanimously in support of this important aspect of education.

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About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between September 5th and 17th, 2018. For this survey, a sample of 1,203 girls and boys in Canada aged 12-18 between were interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Rachel Weiss, Research Analyst

Ipsos Public Affairs, Canada

+1 416 572 4453

[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,780.5 million in 2017.

The author(s)
  • Rachel Weiss Research Analyst, Public Affairs