A new statue, Georgina and the Dragon,’ has been unveiled ahead of International Women’s Day, showing a young girl rearing on a BMX bike as she triumphantly slays the dragon, symbolising several stereotypes that females still face today.
The statue was designed in collaboration with Girlguiding Advocates and revealed in St John’s Wood beside a traditional male version as a mark of women’s empowerment.
The dragon is decorated in a collection of outdated beliefs and phrases shared by girls and young women.
‘Georgina’ uses a rucksack as a shield covered in badges that young women have gained throughout their Girlguiding journeys.
These include ‘Speaking Out’, ‘Inventing’, ‘Construction’, ‘Navigator’ and ‘Entrepreneur’.
The newly designed ‘Girls Can Do Anything’ badge is the latest one to be added to the collection – empowering girls to think big and be bold in a space where they can be themselves, get creative, explore and have fun.
Girlguiding also commissioned research to reveal the most common stereotypes women and girls still battle within their everyday lives, despite coming a long way when it comes to equality and non-prejudice. Half of the 450 girls aged 10-17 polled think their gender is more likely to experience negative stereotypes than their counterparts.
Chief executive Angela Salt said that Girlguiding was founded over 100 years ago because girls wanted the same rights and opportunities as boys. Regrettably, the battle for equality is still genuine as girls face unprecedented pressures in all aspects of their lives, with sexism and stereotypes creating barriers to accessing the things they need to be happy.
According to an OnePoll.com study, 45 per cent of girls feel annoyed, while a third is left angry after hearing about people’s views on gender stereotypes. Exactly two-thirds believe more needs to be done to break down these old-fashioned views, with 27 per cent admitting it has previously stopped them from doing something they wanted to do.
Girlguiding advocate Lucy, 15, said gender stereotypes add unnecessary barriers to girls and young women.
They reinforce pre-existing misogyny and sexism in everyday life: schools, the public, and jobs. “Being a member has helped my confidence, and being an advocate means I can inspire other girls to explore new interests and activities that not everyone considers ‘for girls’.”
The ‘Georgina and The Dragon’ statue, which marks a significant time in the organization’s 113-year history, is available from International Women’s Day (8th March) at Girlguiding HQ in Victoria, London.
The top ten stereotypes that females face today, according to the research, are:
- Girls are more emotional and delicate than boys
- Boys are stronger than girls
- Pink is a girls’ color and blue is a boys’ color
- Girls are expected to help with household chores
- Men are better drivers than women
- There are toys for girls and toys for boys
- Girls can cry but boys shouldn’t cry
- Boys are braver than girls
- Football is a boys’ game
- Science is more for boys