WELSH schoolchildren as young as 10 are experiencing sexism, new research shows.

The study, unveiled yesterday by Cardiff University, NSPCC and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, looks at how pre-teens feel about growing up in an increasingly sexist society.

Professor Emma Renold, of Cardiff University, said: “When girls talk about wearing high heels, not to look sexy, but to get respect, feel independent and not to be treated like dirt, we need to think again about what it means when children want to ‘look older’.”

A 12-year-old in the study said: “I don’t like to walk past guys. I just feel like they are going to talk about me or they will judge me.”

Professor Renold said: “The young people we spoke to were often critical and angry about having to live in a sexist peer culture and society and many felt there was nothing that could be done to change it.”

Des Mannion, NSPCC National Head of Service for Wales said: “We are keen to call on schools to challenge stereotypes in the work they do about wellbeing.”Keith Towler, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, said: “Our hope is this research opens up channels for schools to better equip children and young people in Wales to openly tackle gender and sexuality issues.”