7 Studies That Prove Things Are Harder For Girls Than For Guys

So. Let’s talk gender inequality. You’ve heard, probably, that women tend to get paid less than men for doing the same amount of work (80 cents on the dollar, to be exact, and even less than that if you are a woman of color.). You might have also sort of suspected at some point in your life that you have to endure some general BS that guys don’t have to go through. Well, the rumors are true! Life, in general, is harder for girls than it is for guys.

Does this mean that you, personally, are always going to struggle simply because you are a girl? No. Does this mean that, in every single situation in which a girl and guy go against one another for something, the guy is always going to come out on top? Also no. Does this mean that anything you have personally accomplished in your life is either a fluke or a result of someone feeling bad for you? Don’t discredit yourself like that! Of course not.

What it does mean, however, is that there are certain structural and institutional disadvantages in society that many women have to deal with throughout their lives that they might not even realize. Fortunately, there is a lot of data to back you up. So, check out these studies that prove that things are harder for girls than for guys:

Daily Life Is Significantly More Dangerous

Pretty much any objectively terrible thing you can imagine--physical violence, sexual violence, child sex abuse--tends to impact women at higher levels than men. According to The Independent, an estimated 120 million girls and women under age 20 have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts, and more of a third of women around the world have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives, while about one-sixth of men have. (To be clear: sexual violence is horrible when it happens to any person of any gender, but these statistics reveal how it affects women disproportionately.)

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Women Carry Greater Student Loan Debt

A study done by the American Association of University Women recently found that women shoulder two-thirds of $1.3 trillion dollar amount of student debt in the United States. This is because 44 percent of female undergraduates take on student loans, as opposed to the 39 percent of male undergrads who do. Women also take out about 14 percent more in student loans. This is aggravating enough as it is, and even more so when you consider that women make 20 percent less than men four years after graduation, which means it takes longer to pay off student debt, too.

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Female Athletes Work Harder Than Male Athletes

If you're looking at a male athlete and a female athlete playing the same sport, chances are good that the female is working a little harder. Why? Men have larger hearts, more red blood cells, and greater lung capacity, all of which allows men to do certain athletic tasks easier than women. This would be fine if female athletes got paid the same salary as male athletes, but, uh, they don't--female athletes are paid a fraction of the salary of males. Plus often get shut out of athletic endorsements in favor of supermodels who don't actually play the sport they're shilling for, while male athletes get lucrative sponsorship deals with sports brands. So, women are working harder and getting paid less, which seems like a bum deal.

Image source: iStock

'Biases' Push Girls Out Of STEM Fields

According to the Harvard Business Review, there are lot of biases that push women out of STEM fields. Women are often expected to prove their value over and over again--the idea being that if a woman gets something right, it's a fluke, but if a guy is correct about the same thing, it's because he's smart. Women are also frequently forced to toe the line in regards to how they present themselves (basically, they can't be seen as too feminine or too masculine). and, because of all of the standards they are held to, women tend to feel isolated, since the act of interacting with colleagues feels like too much of a risk. (This last one, unsurprisingly, affects women of color the most.)

Image source: iStock

Networking Is Harder

If you're trying to get into the business world, you probably already know that networking--which is basically when you interact with other people to exchange information, especially to advance your career--is super important. And, (perhaps unsurprisingly?) research shows that the deck is stacked against women when it comes to networking. According to Forbes, this is because women tend to be perceived as an "other" in the corporate world, given that most people who run corporations are men. People tend to hire and network with people who are like them, so women have to make an extra effort to be perceived as valuable when they're networking.

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Girls Aren't Taught To Think They're Smart

A study done at New York University earlier this year found that girls as young as six believe that intelligence is a male trait. The study also found that girls, unlike boys, do not believe that intelligence is something you're born with. In the study, a group of 96 boys and girls between the ages of five and seven were read a story about a highly intelligent person and, after the story was over, asked to guess the person's gender. Girls and boys aged five were equally likely to pick their own gender, but for those aged six and seven, girls were much less likely than boys to associate their own gender with intelligence.  Boys chose people of their own gender as "really, really smart" 65 percent of the time, while girls only selected their gender as very smart 48 percent of the time.

Image source: iStock

Women Need More Sleep

Feel like you're tired all the time? It's not you! Or, technically, it is you--your "complex brain," to be exact. Sleep experts in the UK found that women, on average, need about 20 minutes more sleep than men. Why is this? Apparently, the female brain works harder throughout the day, and, as a result, needs more time to recover. The study also found that women tend to react worse to lack of sleep than men--increased levels of "psychological distress"  were all found in women who didn't get enough sleep, but not men.

Image source: iStock

What do you think of these studies? Did any of them surprise you? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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