Leicester sociologist backs first global Day of the Girl
Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Education and also in Communities
Dr Jane Pilcher of the University of Leicester Department of Sociology.
A University of Leicester sociologist has hailed the first ‘International Day of the Girl’ as an opportunity to address girls’ issues – including the sexualisation of children in the UK.
Dr Jane Pilcher, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Leicester’s Department of Sociology, has backed the United Nations’ global day for highlighting girls’ issues on October 11.
Dr Pilcher researches the sociology of gender and gendered childhood, and has led studies into the impact of fashion labels and consumerism on children as well as the effect of parents’ surname choices.
She is the author of Fifty Key Concepts in Gender Studies (2004), Women in Contemporary Britain: An Introduction (1999), Women of Their Time: Generation Gender Issues and Feminism (1998).
The campaign to introduce the Day of the Girl was led by US-based organisation School Girls Unite and international development charity Plan International.
The event aims to draw attention to issues affecting girls worldwide, and aims to help break down stereotypes and increase gender equality and opportunities for girls.
Dr Pilcher said: “Girls in many developing countries are denied education and can enter into marriage at relatively early ages. If these barriers can be overcome, Plan says, girls in developing countries have huge potential for breaking ‘the cycle of poverty' and contributing to the future growth and prosperity of their families, their communities and their nations.
“Closer to home, in the UK girls are at the centre of concerns about the ‘sexualisation’ of childhood. Retailers, including leading High Street chains, have been criticized by politicians and interest groups for selling 'sexualized' and 'inappropriate' clothes for girls, like padded bras, thongs, bikinis and high heel shoes.
“The controversies, campaigns, enquiries and policy initiatives around the ‘sexualisation of childhood’ have quite rightly involved questions being asked about childhood, parenting, sexual morality, consumerism and the practices of retailers. Once again it is girls who have been at the centre of these debates.
“So, girls (women-to-be) are often seen as key to many a social and political issue; the U.N.’s designation of 11 October as an annual International Day of the Girl is a timely recognition of this.”