Sue Sharpe Just Like A Girl - 20 Years Later The research for Just Like A Girl was conducted in 4 Ealing schools in 1972. In 1991 she revisited the schools and carried out a follow-up study. She was investigating girls' attitudes to education, work and marriage. Education a) In 1972 67% of girls wanted to leave school at 16 or earlier. In the later study 67% wanted to stay in education at least until 18 b) In the earlier study girls considered it 'unfeminine' to work hard, by the 1990s it was the boys who considered it 'unmasculine' to concentrate on their studies. Female underachievement in schools has disappeared and it is now the boys who are underachieving. c) Girls are now studying a greater range of subjects at school, partly as a result of equal opportunities programmes. Work In 1972 only 37% of the workforce was female, now it is half. In the 1970s girls' ambitions were limited especially to office work and 'women's work'. By the 1990s there had been a widening of aspirations, although science and technology remained less attractive. In 1972 work was seen almost entirely in instrumental terms of wishing to increase the household income. In 1991 it was seem more in terms of personal development and achieving independence. Marriage In the last 20 years marriage has declined by 33% and the divorce rate has risen six- fold. The 1991 girls wanted to marry later, fewer of them wanted children. An increasing number thought work and independence were more important than marriage. By contrast, boys valued the commitment of marriage more highly than girls. Boys also contemplated the likelihood of divorce less than girls 17% compared to 50%.
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