A third of women in the UK believe their gender has held them back

Nearly 10 million British women feel their gender has held them back [Photo: Rawpixel via Pexels]

Just when you think we’re making strides in reducing gender discrimination, a sobering stat is released to send us tumbling back to square one.

In this case the stat in question is the fact that one third of women in the UK believe their gender has held them back.

Let’s just digest that for a moment. That’s nearly 10 million women who believe that the very fact that they were born female has had a negative impact on their life.

Unsurprisingly, women are four times more likely than men to say that they have been held back in their career because of their gender.

And it seems that the younger generation feel even more adversely affected with almost half (42%) of 18-24 year olds and over a third (35%) of 25-34 year olds feeling they have been personally affected and held back by gender expectations and stereotyping.

This continues throughout women’s lives, with 50% being been held back in relation to playing sport.

Thankfully though, some major brands are hoping to turn around those statistics and end gender discrimination in sport and other industries.

Following the release of their shocking research, Avon UK have joined forces with Liverpool Ladies FC to launch their campaign ‘I Can Be’, which aims to banish gender stereotypes, and inspire women to have the confidence to achieve their goals, and follow their aspirations, regardless of their sex.


Commenting on the findings, Avon UK’s Director of Beauty and Advertising, Stephen Rendu said: “As a father of girls it’s alarming to see that so many young women still face gender stereotyping and are being held back from realising their potential.”

“At Avon we are committed to empowering women and helping them to achieve their ambitions – from the board room to the boot room. We passionately believe that everyone can be what they want to be.”

And women need to look no further for inspiration than the Liverpool Ladies Football team who have joined forces with Avon to try to smash some of the deeply ingrained gender stereotyping in the world of sport.

“Women’s football is going from strength to strength but it undoubtedly still has a long way to go,” says Gemma Bonner, Liverpool Ladies FC Captain.

“Playing football professionally has always been my main aim. Growing up however, I did face barriers to helping me achieve this dream, the largest being the lack of opportunity for me to play as my high school didn’t have a female football team.”

Gemma hopes that by speaking up about her own experiences she can be a role model for the sport and help to empower young women and girls to get involved and achieve their ambitions.


In order to continue to breakdown gender stereotypes psychologist and ‘humanistic’ psychotherapist Corinne Sweet is urging women to find their inner confidence and challenge stereotypes based on their sex.

“It is not good enough for young women to feel ‘held back’ from success in the 21st Century,” she says. “To succeed women need to believe in themselves and put themselves first.”

“It is time for young women to go for what they want, and to believe they can achieve it,” she continues. “It is also important for them to reach out for support and guidance and to expect to achieve on the same level as men.”

As part of their campaign Avon is also encouraging people to take to social media and share their #ICanBe stories, inspiring others to overcome gender stereotypes and become role models for other women and men.

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