Recent research carried out, based on interviews with 500 young girls from across the UK, revealed that around twenty five per cent of them feel under pressure to conform to an "Ideal image". Five per cent claimed they hated the way they looked, with twenty per cent claiming there would be much they would like to change. All these results indicating a feeling of low self -esteem among these young people.
The survey, which was carried out by the Future Foundation on behalf of Dove, interviewed girls aged between 11 and 17 years of age, and reveals the alarming effect that low Self-esteem is having on their future prospects and outlook on life. Only a third of those interviewed felt confident that they would go on to have success in any chosen career.
This lack of self-esteem and self-confidence in their appearance has resulted in them spending as much time in attending to it as they would spend on their homework, nearly forty five minutes applying make-up in contrast to just fifty or so minutes on home work. Almost fifty per cent described themselves as ordinary and claimed they would be far happier if they felt more attractive.
This alarming image of thousands of young girls suffering from low self-esteem and self-confidence could have long term effects on the future of women's roles in society.
The results of this particular survey have indicated that by the middle of this century the United Kingdom could lose hundreds and thousands of professional women such as doctors, lawyers and business entrepreneurs, plus the possibility of lacking fifty future women members of parliament.
It is also claimed that this lack of self-esteem and self-confidence at present being displayed by these girls will make it highly unlikely they will aspire to careers in business, politics or sport.
It is a highly disturbing picture that is being painted by the results of this survey, a picture of thousands of young girls unknowingly condemning themselves to lower expectations of life and future happiness. It would be easy, and in some ways justified to blame the media, magazines, television and pop videos, for this undermining of young girls self-confidence. They are subjected to a constant barrage of images of near perfect models and highly glamorous life styles, to make them think that they are somehow inadequate if they do not conform to these images; but the future does not have to be that bleak.
Dove has launched a high self-esteem programme, aimed at 11 to 14 year old girls, to be introduced and rolled out in the form of workshops in schools across the country.
In addition to these workshops, parents and other adults can strive to boost young girl's self-esteem in as many ways as possible. Praise them for any small achievement they may make. Convince them that they are as attractive as any air brushed model, and that personality and a healthy outlook on life are just as important as physical beauty. Raising their self-esteem will raise their aspirations, and their future prospects.