Girls are held back by ladette culture: Cambridge University academic

Saturday, November 20, 2010

LONDON - A senior academic from prestigious Cambridge University has stated that young women are so sexualized and image conscious that they lack intellectual confidence.

Dame Patricia Hodgson, principal of all-girls Newnham College, blamed the ‘ladette -culture’ for its emphasis on looks and the way it frowns on educational achievement and said it leaves girls believing they are less intelligent than boys.

Hodgson, 63, noted in a conference that women were now less confident and less capable of seizing equal opportunities than they were 40 years ago.

And while young women are ’streetwise’, they live in fear of failure, which stops them from fulfilling their potential.

“Young women may now assume that equal pay is assured and that they can balance life and work on a pretty level playing field. But at Newnham young women strike me as less confident than we had been 40 years ago. They may be streetwise but they are not intellectually confident,” the Daily Mail quoted her as speaking at the Girls’ Schools Association annual conference in Manchester.

‘The fear of failure resonates. I’m guessing that this carries on in life. This is the real problem. Quite a few women are held back by fear of failure and lack of -confidence. It stops them fulfilling their potential. One does wonder if the equal opportunity which we have been led to believe is there, is really there,” Hodgson added.

Hodgson also ranted on the celebrity culture and also included example of a recent survey to determine the future 100 most powerful women.

“It only included seven or eight senior businesswomen and a handful of academics and politicians. The overwhelming majority were fashion models and celebrities,” she said.

The principal concluded by telling the conference that the solution was to give young women positive role models and teach them confidence in an environment free from Facebook and ‘X Factor’. (ANI)

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