Role models help to build self–esteem in young girls

Dove’s New Dish on Beauty event brought together a panel of extraordinary Canadian women, including Jeanne Beker, host of Fashion Television and Shelley–Ann Brown, olympic silver medalist, to discuss the Real Truth About Beauty global study findings and to explore ways of helping young girls cope with sources of beauty pressures.

The research suggests that, while beauty pressures can have consequences for young girls, having positive role models in their lives could help limit their negative impact and help young girls reach their full personal potential in life.

Globally, 67% of girls who do not have a role model say they have avoided certain activities because of how they feels about their looks. While ‘moms’ are seen as the top role model by Canadian girls (59%), they are unlikely to identify other types of role models, even within their own families. After ‘moms,’ the next most identified role model by Canadian girls was ‘my friend’ (13%), followed by ‘my sister’ (12%), while only 7% of Canadian girls cite women in their extended family as female role models and only 4% cite their grandmother as being a female role model.

Participants in Dove’s New Dish on Beauty discussed the key challenges emerging from the research and identified opportunities to help young girls identify positive role models in their lives.

“The most important thing women can do to help girls build a foundation of confidence and self–esteem is to lead by example, by allowing young girls to see that you are confident in your own skin and joyful about who you are,” says olympic medalist, Shelley–Ann Brown. “The best role model is a woman who knows who she has been and who she wants to become, while being proud of who she is today.”

In addition, the panelists identified ways women everywhere can help build a foundation of confidence and self–esteem in young girls helping them to develop a positive relationship with beauty in order to reach their full potential in life:

1 Walk the talk—show the girls in your life that you are confident in your own skin and joyful about who you are.

2 Knowledge is power—share vital information about self–image and teach them skills to cope with challenges in healthy ways.

3 Celebrate differences—every girl is special and should be encouraged to appreciate her own value, not to measure herself against others.

4 Be accessible—encourage girls to develop caring relationships with adult women and be available to discuss her issues and talk about her stresses.

5 Know where to find support—use the free self–esteem education tools at www.dove.ca to learn ways of helping young girls feel more confident in themselves.

6 Take Action—Join the Dove Movement for Self–Esteem at www.facebook.com/dove.

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