How to act around girls for boys

Eye contact. If he likes you, he may either look away quickly if he is shy, or he'll try to catch your eye and hold it until you look away first.

Listen to what he's saying. If he likes you, and he's nervous, he'll probably start talking about himself. Many times, guys feel the need to prove themselves; especially if you talk about another guy in his company.

Be aware of touching. He might put his hand on your arm when he laughs, and won't move his leg if it happens to touch yours, or he may hug you for small things – all are good signs of a guy liking you, unless he's a bit of a "playboy" who flirts with a lot of girls.

Watch his actions around other girls and see if he treats you differently.

Watch for him showing interest in things you like and do. For example, if you like a certain genre of music that he likes as well, he may suggest bands or artists for you to listen to.

Check for signs of nervousness. Nervous laughter, sweaty palms, deep breaths, fidgeting, looking away quickly when you notice if he is watching you are all good signs of an attraction towards you and that he is nervous about making an impression on someone he fancies.

Pay attention to his friends. If they know he's interested in you, they might tease him subtly when you're around, hint to you that he likes you, or even try to find out if you like him.

Look to see if he imitates you If he mimics you, he probably likes you, such as, if you move to another table, he'll go with you.

Teasing If a guy teases you a lot, it might mean he likes you, but if he doesn't tease any other girl, he probably does like you.

A lot of people have a crush. Talking to your crush can be very scary and quite intimidating but at the same time it causes some alterations in the way our mind works. People often start behaving childish with their crush, become sensitive, gets intense feeling of love, lacks concentration on their work.

Here are the things that happen when boys are with or around their love interest.

  1. They look at her endlessly.

Try this with some another girl and she will tell you how a slap tastes.

2.They become attentive whenever her name comes in a conversation. “Yeah what you were saying right now”.

3.They don’t like when she talks with some another guy. They act as if nothing is wrong but deep inside they gets roasted.

4. They try to act childish and innocent when she is around them. Try acting the same way in front of your friends, they’ll definitely get pissed off.

5. They try to copy her taste whether its about food, movies, favorite color, perfume etc. “Yeah mine too” becomes the most common phrase.

6. They try to act cool and intelligent in front of her.

7. They think 100 times before uttering a word in front of her. “Should I say that or not”, “Will she like it or not”, “Is it right to say now”.

8. They spy her and try to guard her when she is around them.

9. They start planning their future with her in their head. “What if she’ll accept my proposal”, “We’ll go to that place after marriage”, are some of the shitty thoughts that comes in mind.

10. They act like as if they are doing some work but the truth is that all their attention is towards her.

Though most of these habits are inevitable because of the chemical locha, the next time you start blushing when your crush comes up and talks to you, just remember how silly you’re probably looking, and you’ll get back to normal.

Girls feel the need to play down their intelligence to not intimidate boys, concludes research by a sociologist who spent three months amongst a class of school children.

The research, conducted by Dr Maria do Mar Pereira from the University of Warwick’s Department of Sociology, found that boys aged 14 had acquired the belief that girls their age should be less intelligent.

“There are very strong pressures in society that dictate what is a proper man and a proper woman,” argues Dr Pereira. “Young people try to adapt their behaviour according to these pressures to fit into society. One of the pressures is that young men must be more dominant -cleverer, stronger, taller, funnier — than young women, and that being in a relationship with a woman who is more intelligent will undermine their masculinity.”

To conduct the research Dr Pereira spent, with permission of the school and relevant authorities, three months as a student in a Year Eight class observing the everyday lives of school children. In order to gain as much insight as possible, she participated in all aspects of their day at school: she attended classes, did PE lessons, took exams, had lunch in the cafeteria, played in the playground and joined them in trips to shopping centres after school. As a result, she was able to observe aspects of young people’s interactions, feelings and behaviours that teachers and parents are often unable to access.

Based on these experiences, Dr Pereira says that “Our ideas of what constitutes a real man or woman are not natural; they are restrictive norms that are harmful to children of both genders. The belief that men have to be dominant over women makes boys feel constantly anxious and under pressure to prove their power — namely by fighting, drinking, sexually harassing, refusing to ask for help, and repressing their emotions.

“Girls feel they must downplay their own abilities, pretending to be less intelligent than they actually are, not speaking out against harassment, and withdrawing from hobbies, sports and activities that might seem ‘unfeminine’.”

According to Dr Pereira, “Trying to live up to these unreal ideas of masculinity and femininity leads to a range of problems; low self-esteem, bullying, physical and verbal violence, health problems and a tragic loss of potential in our young people. Therefore, we must promote ideas about gender which are less rigid, and recognize there are many ways of being a man and a woman.”

The book based on this research project, entitled Doing Gender in the Playground: The Negotiation of Gender and Sexuality in Schools, has just been named the Best Qualitative Book worldwide (2010-2014) by the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry.

Whilst the initial work was conducted in a school in Lisbon, Dr Pereira asserts that the conclusions “strongly apply to young people in the UK and other western countries, and match the findings of previous studies conducted in British schools.

“In a globalized world, the ideas that young people in other countries have about gender are significantly influenced by British media, literature and popular culture. Therefore, it is vital that in the UK we have a more serious debate about the gender norms that we promote and their effects on young people at home and abroad,” argues Dr Pereira.

I ’ll level with you. Kids used to scare the bejesus out of me. (As a rule, I’m wary of anything that’s smaller and faster than me; see also woodlice.) I don’t have children, but most of my pals have gone down the parenthood route, and I’m a stupidly proud auntie. With busy friends, kids soon became part of the package when we made social plans – and the size/age of friends’ offspring became a gauge of how much time had passed since we saw each other.

But I can’t say I enjoyed talking to kids, or felt particularly good at it. It didn’t come naturally. I’d find myself morphing into an unrecognisable weirdo, swinging between Victorian school ma’am and simpering desperado. When I did speak, I had a voice that was three octaves higher and not even my accent. I wanted to be Uncle Buck; the reality was more Nanny McPhee.

My discomfort was compounded by society’s (rarely spoken, continually implied) idea of the childless woman as a child-hating freak. Which couldn’t be further from the truth – well, the child-hating bit, anyway. I like kids. I just never really knew how to relax around them.

In my 30s, however, things started to change. I remember starting to feel fiercely maternal towards teenage girls on buses, trains and streets. I knew how to speak to them (and I definitely knew how to speak to men who were hassling them).

But little kids took more time. They took training, effort, tactics. They took more than multipacks of Freddos. I have come to realise that children are not, in fact, a completely different species. The learning curve has been steep and slippery and strewn with godawful Frozen karaoke renditions, but now I feel I can look the critters of tomorrow in the eye and converse meaningfully. Sometimes. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

Talk up, not down

I used to think children were just a big, indecipherable, globby mass of kid-ness; a one-conversation-fits-all sort of situation. But when I rack my own childhood memories of talking to adults, I remember one of the things that annoyed me the most was feeling patronised, of being lumped together with everyone my own age and being seen as a generic “kid”. With language skills came a deep need for respect. One friend goes all out with the grown-up approach when he greets children, even sticking his hand out for a handshake (which they love) and asking what they think about something in the news. Another friend’s six-year-old recently told me that politeness and friendliness were the two things that mattered to him the most when chatting to grownups – by friendliness, he meant talking like friends, on a level (he said his grandparents were best at this).

Don’t try too hard

I hate the fact that this is true because I am a natural-born trier, but it’s always good to slap down your inner people-pleaser – partly for the sake of your own sanity, but also because otherwise kids will quickly mark your card as insincere. Kids can smell desperation like dogs smell fear.

It doesn’t help that I come from a family that stands on ceremony when even a cat enters the room. “Oh, look, here he/she is now!” someone will trill. Meanwhile, the rest of us will turn and marvel at whatever fascinating thing the creature has chosen to do, such as stop, split its legs and lick its bum. Imagine how we treat children. My nephew can’t pass wind without receiving an intense appraisal.

And it’s so nice not to be noticed, sometimes. Ever observed how the cat always comes to the person who doesn’t call it? It’s less stressful. At children’s parties I have been known to occupy a quiet table in the corner, where I sit like a tarot reader, waiting for the kids to come to me. Sure enough, they’ll approach, until I am surrounded and become surprise queen entertainer, like Steve Martin in Parenthood. I also know how to fashion a roast chicken out of a cloth napkin, and the effects of this wizardry aren’t to be underestimated.

Illustration: Nate Kitch

Sometimes, just dance

Last summer, on holiday with my nephew in Mallorca, I had a major epiphany. Hanging out with a toddler is a lot like hanging out with a friend who is on fast drugs – ie, it’s all about themthemthem, they want to do crazy stunts such as jump in the pool fully clothed, and display random moments of aggressive affection. Once I realised this, we got on a treat. I put on Walk The Dinosaur and we focused all our energy into the universal language of expressive dance. With roaring. Nailed it.


Unless you think kids are nothing more than stupid parrots, you should swear around them, and chill out when other people swear around them. Sure, tell them the difference between swearing at someone and swearing to release joy or frustration, teach them about the power and consequences of inappropriate language; but having a zero-tolerance policy is like freaking out when they see someone holding a wine glass. To think that kids will hear swearwords and automatically be upset or start mindlessly spouting profanities is bollocks. This is real life, not Radio 4.

Don’t ask a silly question

Or, rather, a vague one. I got the standard “Dunno” response from kids so many times, then realised I was asking massively boring questions such as, “What did you do at school today?” A school day is an eternity when you’re nine, so this is basically like asking an adult what they did in 2014. I can’t remember either. Options make things easier: “Do you prefer pink spotted monsters or blue wiggly monsters?” (You can even use this to your advantage: my friend Natalie asks her kids whether they want to go to bed at 7.01 or 7.02. They feel empowered. She gets to drink wine in peace. Sneaky.)

Gehan Roberts receives funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council. He is affiliated with the Royal Children's Hospital, The Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and the University of Melbourne, Melbourne.


The Conversation UK receives funding from these organisations

How to act around girls for boys

  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • WhatsApp
  • Messenger

New evidence is emerging that confirms what parents and children have reported for generations: boys and girls behave differently, and parenting practices vary depending on the gender of the child. Boys seem to have more behavioural problems than girls, and this difference appears in early childhood.

The results come from the latest round of data released from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), Australia’s first nationally representative long-term study of child development involving almost 10,000 children from birth to nine years of age.

But before we delve into the findings, there are a few important points to remember when examining the differences between boys and girls.

First, the findings are based on caregivers (usually mothers) completing behaviour report forms. Of course, it would be ideal to have observational-style data on children in a range of settings, but this is just not practical when following up large numbers of children over an extended period.

Second, the overall results reflect averages or mean scores, generated from a wide range of individuals who participated in each wave of the study. The implication for the individual child, therefore, is much harder to pin down than implications for the population as a whole.


Between the age two and three, the boys displayed a higher rate of behavioural problems than the girls. Boys were around 10% more likely to show what we call “externalising behaviours” such as destructiveness and aggressiveness.

Girls, on the other hand, were more likely to have “internalising problems” such as anxiety. Girls were also more likely to have higher scores on measures of “competence” such as following rules or caregiving behaviours (helping when someone is hurt, for instance).

Having no siblings or three or more siblings, being in groups of lower social advantage (calculated on a scale based on information such as parents’ education, income and occupation) and living in metropolitan areas also contributed to a higher risk of behavioural problems, irrespective of whether the child was a boy or a girl.

At age four to five, another parent-completed questionnaire asked if these symptoms persisted. Again, boys had higher scores of hyperactivity, emotional problems and peer problems, although their scores on conduct problems were not different to those of girls. Few boys had extreme symptoms that indicated clinical disorders.

Girls were again more likely to have emotional problems. Girls also had higher scores on measures of “competence”, such as being kind or helpful.

Pro-social behaviours (where the child acts in a way that’s intended to benefit another) were the norm, rather than the exception, for the vast majority of children, both boys and girls.

Other risk factors such lower social advantage and having no or three or more siblings once again were associated with higher rates of reported problems.

How to act around girls for boys

Parenting techniques

Data were also available on the differences in parenting style. But as this was an observational study, it doesn’t give us enough information to enter the ongoing debate about nature versus nurture.

For younger children, mothers of boys were less likely to feel that they were able to parent effectively and fathers were less likely to show warmth to their sons compared with their daughters. Both mothers and fathers tended to be more overprotective of their daughters compared with their sons.

For the older children in the study, both mothers and fathers reported higher rates of hostile parenting practices towards boys and were less confident in parenting them, compared with girls. At some ages parents of boys reported using more “inductive reasoning” (discussion and problem solving) than with girls.

Wider view

While these results give us a snapshot on what’s happening in the Australian population in general, they are not as helpful in pinning down exactly what’s happening in the brains of individual boys and girls, and in their households.

We don’t know, for example, whether a boy with reports of behavioural problems at the age of two – whose parents go on to access parenting resources and change their parenting practices – will continue to show behaviour problems when they reach school.

Researchers have shown that there are biological differences between boys and girls in-utero, such as exposure to testosterone, that can affect behaviour in childhood.

Other experts in the field have shown that cultural expectations shape and encourage certain behaviours in boys, such as competition and taking chances, and encourage different areas of expertise in girls, such as cooperation and nurturing.

However the early childhood development literature tells us that all children’s brains are plastic and exquisitely sensitive to their environments. Stable, consistent and nurturing parenting, especially in the early years, is vital for all children to give them the best possible start to life.

The results from this important study are helpful to Australian parents, teachers, health professionals and policy makers. They tell us that differences between boys’ and girls’ behaviour can be identified early in life and that parents can identify and report on their own parenting practices.

But these results should not be used to conclude that boys are more troublesome and less competent, and clearly show that most children growing up in Australia are doing well.

Instead, they should be used as a starting point to identify at-risk children and the risk factors in their environment as early as possible. Once identified, parents can access early intervention to optimise their child’s developmental outcomes.

How to act around girls for boys

How does a man act when he’s falling in love? It’s a question on all of our minds.

I’ve long heard that men tend to be way more passionate and crazy when they fall in love, and from what I’ve seen, it’s pretty true.

While it’s hard to tell if a guy has just started to catch feelings, it’s fairly obvious for women to tell how men act when they’re in love. When you’re watching it from afar, it’s easy to see when a guy is really into his girl.

Even so, once in a while, it can be hard to actually realize the great signs he’s in love with you.

So how does a man act when he’s falling in love?

I know — it’s happened to me before, too. That’s when you need to look out for the way guys act when they’re in love.

1. They get romantic.

When men fall in love with a woman, being Romeo suddenly becomes a huge deal. They will start to obsess over giving her presents, taking her out to nice places, and just trying to make her smile.

So, if you notice that he’s amping up trips to fine dining establishments, giving you flowers, or doing similar things, he’s probably in love.

2. They start flaunting the girl they fell for.

A guy who isn’t feeling a girl will make no effort to introduce her to his friends or family. When men are in love, however, she becomes a part of his life and social scene.

Ergo, a good sign he’s in love with you is if he starts introducing you to his family, friends, and bringing you to his favorite spots.

3. They start flexing their ability to provide.

I’ve noticed that a lot of guys really focus on showing what they can do for a girl, usually in the form of money and gifts. But it also can happen with them offering to be a sympathetic ear, or by having him try to act as a hero or protector.

Either way, guys usually will start to show how good they can be to a girl.

4. They want to lock it down.

If you want a man to commit to a label, it’s not that hard to do if he’s already in love with you.

Actually, he’ll probably start clamoring to call you his girlfriend and incorporate you in his future plans. Some will also agree to marry or get engaged fairly quickly, too.

5. They’ll talk up a storm.

A man is in love when his girl becomes his confidante. If he’s constantly gabbing about everything from his lunch to his coworkers to his dad’s argument with a store clerk, chances are very high that he’s deeply in love with you.

6. They become very interested in your opinions.

A guy who doesn’t really feel much for a girl won’t care too much if she doesn’t approve of something. On the other hand, a guy who is head over heels in love tends to be very interested in everything a girl is thinking, including her taste in food, shoes, and even politics.

7. They try their best not to hurt you.

This is what a lot of people don’t seem to understand. Guys who say they’re in love aren’t in love if they’re casually insulting a girl, disrespecting her, doing things she’s asked him not to do, or otherwise just pushing boundaries. That’s not love.

When guys are in real love, they can’t bear the idea of hurting a woman and, as a result, won’t do things that they know upset the girl they want.

8. They soften up.

I’ve seen some of the scariest men I’ve ever met turn into giant mush puddles when the girl they love calls them a pet name. This isn’t news to anyone; it isn’t even a TV trope.

One thing I’ve noticed that might be news is that the guys who are really happy in love with their girls often soften up around women, in general. They tend to be more approving of women’s rights, are more likely to treat other girls nicely, and are just generally happier. (This is just my own observation, though.)

9. They drop the L-bomb.

Though some guys might use this word to manipulate, a lot of guys really do mean it when they say they love a girl. (Or, at least, they use it when they think they’re in love.)

10. They give “the look.”

You know that look of sheer adoration you give when you truly appreciate someone? That’s how guys act when they’re in love: they give you a glance and you just know.

11. They choose you over other options.

This is because in their eyes you are a priority.

Therefore, a guy will choose to spend time with you rather than playing video games with the boys. Or a guy will choose to take you out somewhere, rather than going to a club alone.

12. They will engage in massive PDA.

If a guy is falling for you he will almost always want to be in contact with you. Body language is very important. Whether it’s hugging you or handing your hand, some part of him needs to be touching you.

Guys are mostly physical beings and not only that but all humans have an innate yearning for physical touch. It calms us.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

13. They will start taking care of you.

This is due to their protective nature. They want to make sure you are happy and will do anything to make sure that happens. They will make sure you feel comfortable around them, make sure you’re satisfied.

Whether it be getting you food when you’re hungry or giving you their coat when you’re cold, they’ll [pay attention to your needs. It’ll almost be like your his baby because that’s what he wants.

14. They will introduce you to friends and family.

If a guy is seriously into you, he’ll bring you into his inner circle. That is, you’ll meet his friends and family. You’ll be spending time with them, he’ll bring you around them often.

He wants them (and you) to know you’re important to him.

15. They will want to know more about you.

If he’s falling in love with you, he will want to know more about you. From your first word to how you feel about global warming. He’ll spend a lot of time listening to your stories.

Guys will want to know everything about you. they want to know why you feel a certain way and where the feeling comes from. This is because all of that is what makes you the person they are falling in love with.

16. They won’t leave you on read.

When guys are in love or falling in love they won’t give you a second to doubt their intentions.

So when you call they’ll answer, and when you text they’ll reply. They won’t ignore you.

17. They will laugh.

When guys are falling deeply in love it may make them uncomfortable, nervous, or even scared. This can be seen from fidgeting, not making eye contact, or. laughing. That’s right, you make them nervous and when we are nervous our brains will say “laugh” and we do.

However, they may actually be completely okay with how they are feeling about you so they may laugh more often because they are confident in who they are and who you are.

If a man is falling in love with you it’s because of your passion and your purpose in life. He admires this and you may even inspire him. It is this beauty that makes a guy fall deeply in love and what will get him to do these signs around you.

In the olden times, it was easy enough to figure out how a boy acts when he likes a girl. There was courtship involved. There were flowers, poetry and maybe even a love song or two. These days, it’s trickier to figure out what is going on inside people’s heads.

Blame it on the evolving times, technology, the media or just plain mixed signals. If you want to know the answer to the question of “how does a boy act when he likes a girl?” then take a look at this list below.

1) Minimal Eye Contact

When a boy likes a girl, it’s going to be difficult for him to make eye contact for a while. Oh, he’ll stare at the girl for hours if he could get away with it; but as for direct eye-to-eye contact, that’s going to take a bit more courage than what he has at the moment.

2) Sudden Shyness

This is very common act among boys who have been friends with the girl they like for quite a while, only to realize that they’re now developing strange feelings for her.

A sudden bout of shyness is not unheard of. This is quite understandable because the boy in question might not know what to make of such new emotions. This is how a typical boy acts when he likes a girl.

3) Funnier Than Usual

Once the boy gets over the shyness phase, he will most probably attempt to be funnier than usual. He will also flirt with the girl subtly and test the waters a little bit.

He will take every opportunity to make the girl he likes laugh because he wants to see her smile and be closer to her.

4) More Attentive Than Ever

How does a boy act when he likes a girl? Well, he’ll be more attentive to the girl he likes.

If she casually mentions liking chocolates with almonds, he’ll take note of that and give her a box of chocolates as soon as the opportunity arises. Boys can be quite up to speed when it concerns someone they like.

5) A Permanent Escort

When a boy likes a girl, he acts like her personal bodyguard. Wherever she goes, he follows. The more enthralled the boy is, the more persistent he becomes.

A lady friend once shared with me stories of guys who would accompany her everywhere. One boy, in particular, just didn’t know when to take a hint. Girls do not always encourage this sort of behavior; so, if you’re a guy who’s acting this way, I suggest learning the art of interpreting facial expressions and body language.

How does a boy act when he likes a girl? Well, you have your answers. Most boys act the same but no one ever really receives the same response. If you’re a girl reading this article, you now know what to make of a friend’s strange behavior. The ball is now in your court.

How to act around girls for boys

Most men begin to straighten their posture, adjust their clothes, and even clear their throats in front of attractive women. The mere presence of, or thinking about, women can cause men to behave differently in unexpected ways. Researchers at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City found when there’s an abundance of women, men are more likely to be sexually promiscuous and violent.

Men become less focused or committed to single partners, and show interest in pursuing multiple relationships when there’s a surplus of women, which increases aggression. An abundance of women means men become less preoccupied with choice, and adopt promiscuous behaviors that inevitably bring conflict and crime.

“This brings men into conflict with each other in response to their more uncommitted, promiscuous mating orientation,” Ryan Schacht, author of the study, of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City told New Scientist.

However, when men outnumber women, they’re more likely to commit fewer crimes and infidelities. Rather, they shift their attention toward being more dutiful to win and keep a partner. Here, men alter their behavior to comply with “supply and demand” conditions. When women are rare, men see them as a valued resource. This gives women more “bargaining power over what they expect from a relationship,” according to Schacht.

In the study, published in Human Nature, researchers came to this conclusion by analyzing sex ratio data from the US Census Bureau for all 3,082 US counties in 2010, and contrasting it with crime data from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, which lists women and men 15 to 45 years old from the same year.

In the counties where the men outnumbered the women, there were lower rates of murders and assaults as well as fewer sex-related crimes, including rapes, sex offenses and prostitution. In other words, there were fewer crimes in counties predominantly male. This held true even when researchers accounted for other potential factors, such as poverty.

Men are less likely to act out of haste when there’s a low supply of women.

“In some situations they will be much better behaved, and in others they will be much more prone to nasty behaviour,” Schacht told New Scientist.

This challenges the conventional belief male excess can lead to higher levels of violence. These findings do have implications for crime prevention. The researchers suggest crime prevention should focus on places with more women, where men are more likely to act out on aggression and malice.

So, how else do women influence behavior in men?

How to act around girls for boys

Five ways men act differently around women, from being sexually promiscuous to taking more risks. Photo courtesy of Pexels, Public Domain

Men become less intelligent when being observed by women

The IQ levels of men tend to drop when they believe they’re being observed by a woman. In a 2009 study, researchers asked men to perform a Stroop test — where the name of a color appears on the screen in a font that’s a different color. After taking the test for the first time, the participants were then asked to pronounce a series of Dutch words in front of a webcam; this was known as a lip-reading exercise. The researchers made them believe there was a person watching them via webcam by giving them the person’s name. However, the participants couldn’t see. Those who believed they had been observed by a woman during the lip-reading test, performed worse the second time taking the Stroop test.

Men feel less happy about their relationship when meeting pretty women

Men tend to feel worse about their relationships after they encounter a pretty woman. In the 2010 study, people interacted with strangers of the opposite sex; sometimes their partners were attractive, other times they were seen identified as average-looking. The participants were then asked to evaluate how they felt about their romantic relationships. Men generally reported feeling less satisfied with their relationships after being exposed to attractive women.

Men become impatient around attractive women

Unsurprisingly, men who stare at a pretty woman will display less patience and willpower. In the study, participants were asked to either receive a small sum of money tomorrow instead of a large one in the future after viewing pictures of attractive or unattractive members of the opposite sex. Men who looked at pictures of attractive women were more likely to choose the small sum of money compared to the men who saw the unattractive women.

Men take more risks in front of women

Men are more likely to take risks in front of women. A 2010 study found when groups of young men were skateboarding, they tended to play it safe and sane. However, when good-looking women came to observe the skateboarders, they took more risks and tries more impressive moves. Men wanted to exert their male dominance in front of these women.

How to act around girls for boys

Girls and boys see gender inequality in their homes and communities every day – in textbooks, in the media and among the adults who care for them.

Parents may assume unequal responsibility for household work, with mothers bearing the brunt of caregiving and chores. The majority of low-skilled and underpaid community health workers who attend to children are also women, with limited opportunity for professional growth.

And in schools, many girls receive less support than boys to pursue the studies they choose. This happens for a variety of reasons: The safety, hygiene and sanitation needs of girls may be neglected, barring them from regularly attending class. Discriminatory teaching practices and education materials also produce gender gaps in learning and skills development. As a result, nearly 1 in 4 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are neither employed nor in education or training – compared to 1 in 10 boys.

Worldwide, nearly 1 in 4 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are neither employed nor in education or training – compared to 1 in 10 boys.

Yet, in early childhood, gender disparities start out small. Girls have higher survival rates at birth, are more likely to be developmentally on track, and are just as likely to participate in preschool. Among those who reach secondary school, girls tend to outperform boys in reading across every country where data are available.

But the onset of adolescence can bring significant barriers to girls’ well-being. Gender norms and discrimination heighten their risk of unwanted pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, and malnutrition. Especially in emergency settings and in places where menstruation remains taboo, girls are cut off from the information and supplies they need to stay healthy and safe.

How to act around girls for boys

In its most insidious form, gender inequality turns violent. Some 1 in 20 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 – around 13 million – have experienced forced sex. In times of both peace and conflict, adolescent girls face the highest risk of gender-based violence. Hundreds of millions of girls worldwide are still subjected to child marriage and female genital mutilation – even though both have been internationally recognized as human rights violations. And violence can occur at birth, like in places where female infanticide is known to persist.

Some 1 in 20 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 – around 13 million globally – have experienced forced sex in their lifetimes.

Harmful gender norms are perpetuated at the highest levels. In some countries, they become entrenched in laws and policies that fail to uphold – or that even violate – girls’ rights, like laws that restrict women from inheriting property. Boys also suffer from gender norms: Social conceptions of masculinity can fuel child labour, gang violence, disengagement from school, and recruitment into armed groups.

What progress has been made for girls and young women?

Despite major hurdles that still deny them equal rights, girls refuse to limit their ambitions. Since the signing of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995 – the most comprehensive policy agenda for gender equality – the world has seen uneven progress.

More and more girls are attending and completing school, and fewer are getting married or becoming mothers while still children themselves. But discrimination and limiting stereotypes remain rife. Technological change and humanitarian emergencies are also confronting girls with new challenges, while old ones – violence, institutionalized biases, poor learning and life opportunities – persist.

That’s why girls from all walks of life are boldly raising their voices against inequality. Girl-led movements are stopping child marriage and female genital mutilation, demanding action on climate change, and trail-blazing in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – asserting their power as global change-makers.

What is UNICEF doing to promote gender equality?

Reducing inequality strengthens economies and builds stable, resilient societies that give all individuals – including boys and men – the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

UNICEF builds partnerships across the global community to accelerate gender equality. In all areas of our work, we integrate strategies that address gender-specific discrimination and disadvantages.

This means partnering with national health sectors to expand quality maternal care and support the professionalization of the mostly female front-line community health workforce. It means promoting the role of women in the design and delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) ecosystems. And it means working with the education sector to ensure girls and boys thrive in their learning and find pathways to meaningful employment.

For adolescent girls especially, UNICEF invests in skills building to further their economic empowerment – as entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders. We focus on providing learning environments at a time and place that suit girls’ individual circumstances. We also work on assistive technologies for girls with disabilities, and on the expansion of digital platforms, vocational training and apprenticeships.

Supporting girls’ pathway from education to employment requires more than learning opportunities. It requires keeping girls safe from all forms of violence, in and out of school.

Our targeted initiatives to prevent and respond to gender-based violence help end child marriage, eliminate female genital mutilation, provide safe spaces, support menstrual health management, deliver HIV and AIDS care, meet psychosocial needs and more. We invest in innovative models that protect even the hardest-to-reach girls – like virtual safe spaces and apps that allow them to report violence and connect to local resources for support.

To guide investment and programming decisions at the national and global levels, we collect, quantify and share data critical for understanding ongoing and emerging challenges and solutions. What’s more, we tap into the power of youth to shape solutions for their own generation.

How to act around girls for boys

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. or are they? Are the differences between boys and girls really that great? Or is our biological determinism more of a self-fulfilled prophecy?

Neuroscience tells us that yes: boys and girls are different. Boys’ brains are larger, but girls’ brains grow faster and typically their interests and learning styles vary somewhat. But are these differences as significant as we once thought?

New studies tell us that it is the environment that we create for our children that has the greatest impact on the way they learn and what they learn. We can go back through history and point out notable men and women who have gone against gender stereotypes. We can talk about Wolfgang Mozart, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo — men who had fine motor dexterity, could sit for long periods of time, had beautiful handwriting and who were interested in arts, literature, music and writing.

We can talk about women such as tennis legend Billie Jean King, astronaut Sally Ride, one of the country’s earliest civil engineers Marilyn Jorgensen Reece, Aviator Jacqueline Cochran, doctor and researcher Elizabeth Blackburn and so on — women in history who were interested in athletics, math, engineering and science.

In today’s world, the outliers are more the rule than the exception, and parents have the greatest impact on both the suppression and enhancement of our children’s genetic makeup.

All generalizations are false, including this one.

It is true that many boys pick up less social cues than their female counterparts. That girls make more serotonin and oxytocin, so they are calmer and more interested in emotional connection. Boys mature more slowly than girls and girls have more of their cerebral cortex defined for verbal function. The hippocampus, where memory and language live, does develop more rapidly and is larger in girls than in boys. This impacts vocabulary, reading and writing skills. Boys, on the other hand, have more of their cerebral cortex defined for spatial relationships. As a result, they learn easily through movement and visual experience. Also, because girls have more serotonin and oxytocin, they can sit for longer periods of time, easier than boys who may need movement to feel comfortable.

However, there is very little gap between what girls and boys can learn, and herein lies the rub. In fact, the differences are most pronounced in young children, and as children grow older, their home environment, their interests and their peers have the greatest influence over their behavior. By the time children are in the 12th grade, the differences between boys and girls are very subtle. Understanding these subtle differences can help educators guide their students in a positive way, meeting them and their needs where they are.

When little boys don’t want to make eye contact and they fidget in their seats, and little girls are caught talking and sending notes, a savvy teacher can organize her classroom in which she takes into consideration that little boys need to move around, and little girls need to express themselves verbally, and interprets this as part of their biology rather than misbehavior. A savvy parent can be sure that there are playtime opportunities during the day for both boys and girls to unwind and express themselves in a creative way. Further, allowing children to start school especially little boys a little later, perhaps even by a year, gives them an edge. A more mature child can handle school material in a much better way.

In my years as a researcher and educator, I’ve found it to be true that boys and girls perceive their school problems in different ways. Girls tend to take their problems and failures personally, and are much more self-critical. Boys, on the other hand, see their problems in more focused ways and will assign their failure to a particular area of study rather than over-generalize and see themselves as lacking. Ironically girls tend to do better in school than boys and are more likely to stay in school and graduate.

So what can we do to help boys and girls have a happy, fulfilling, well-rounded, and successful school career?