How do we build confidence in girls so they grow up to become strong, empowered young women ready to take on the world?
How is low self-esteem affecting the lives of girls and young women today?
Being a girl or young women in the world today is a challenge. Conforming to or feeling the pressure of friends, social media and celebrities makes it difficult to trust that just being you is good enough.It’s been a couple of years now since Dove released their Global Girls Beauty and Confidence Report. The report – which interviewed more than 5000 girls aged between 10 and 17 across 14 countries – produced some alarming statistics. It found that only 46% of girls globally had high self-esteem, while the figure was even lower in the UK (39%).
only 46% of girls globally had high self-esteem, while the figure was even lower in the UK (39%)
Why is it such a big problem for young people?
Like most complex issues, there are sure to be an infinite number of reasons why someone may lack self-esteem or struggle with body confidence issues. As it continues to play a central role in the lives of girls and young women, social media has often been cited as a reason for low self-confidence. When we asked our volunteers what they thought the main issues facing girls and young women today were, 10 out of 16 (62%) cited ‘social media’, ‘the pressure of social media’ or ‘addiction to social media’.
What, if anything, can be done about it?
Whilst we know that low self-esteem a complicated issue for which there is no guaranteed solution, we are proud that Girls Friendly Society and other organisations like ours continue to make a positive impact on the lives of girls and young women.
Informed by the issues facing young people today, our activities are drawn from six themes: ‘Happy to Be Me’, ‘My community’, ‘Be Creative’, ‘Get Active’ ‘Have Fun’ and ‘Skills for Life’. The ‘Happy to Be Me’ theme in particular aims to build the self-confidence of GFS girls and young women.
Example activities include girls creating visual mood boards where they record hopes, dreams and goals, and plan how to work towards achieving them. Another encourages girls to write down a negative and positive opinion they have of themselves and consider where they may have got that opinion from. Particular attention is paid to the influences which exist in the media and society and the effects they can have on individuals. All of these activities and more can be found on our Activity Finder.