New Research Findings on Girls

by Osy Harrison

Girls Leadership Institute (GLI) has worked for over a decade to address the psychological barriers girls face regarding leadership and healthy relationships. In a study sponsored by the HYPERLINK Keds Brave Life Project, GLI conducted original research on courageous behavior and character. Dare to Dream, Dare to Act: What Girls Say About Bravery explored how teen girls and boys define bravery, what prevents them from being brave, and what assets youth need to live brave lives.

In the survey of 1056 girls and 455 boys some surprising findings were revealed:

  • 59% of teen girls define bravery as a heroic act in a dangerous situation – while only 18% of teen girls define brave as standing up for their beliefs and being honest about who they are.
  • A higher percentage of boys than girls identified as brave, pointing to a bravery gender gap. Girls reported that it was harder for them to be brave than boys, and that boys got more credit for being brave.
  • Contrary to stereotype, teen girls prefer the support of parents, and especially mothers, over their friends.
  • Bravery is driven less by where teens come from – their socioeconomic status, racial background or family structure – and more by personality, values and outlook on life. In other words, we’ve pinpointed some of the qualities, values and skills that are necessary for bravery, characteristics that can be encouraged and taught directly to girls as well as boys.

The study is part of the Keds Brave Life Project, a program launched in January 2013, which provides tools and resources to help girls realize their full potential.  Flip through the report and be sure not to miss slides 12-14.
For more information on Girls Leadership Institute and to register for our Parent Daughter Programs, please visit our website.