If you’re familiar with GWC and the topics I cover, you know that self-esteem and female empowerment are at the top of my priority list, so I’m beyond excited and honored to partner with Dove to spread awareness about the 2018 Dove Self-Esteem Project, in honor of International Women’s Day!
In 2004, the Dove Self-Esteem Project was founded to help support parents, mentors and teachers in ensuring the next generation of women grows up to be happy and content, free from the burden of beauty stereotypes and self-doubt. So far, Dove has helped more than 20 million young people develop a positive relationship with the way they look. But there’s more work to be done! Leading experts believe that taking just one hour to talk to a girl about beauty, confidence and self-esteem can change the way she sees herself for a lifetime – and this year’s project does just that, by encouraging conversation about beauty, confidence and self-esteem with Dove’s #HourWithHer Workshop-in-a-box toolkit.
With my toolkit in hand, I spent an hour with my niece Ayah. Aside from having to navigate and interpret pop culture and online media that often gives girls her age a poor sense of self when they don’t see anyone they can relate to, she often deals with mean girls at school who develop friendships based on the kind of shoes someone wears and even how they style their hair! Due to her personal experiences at the impressionable age of just 6 and a half, my main focus with Ayah was to show her how to interpret destructive messages in the media, navigate toxic friendships at school and focus on redefining what beauty means to her.
After talking a bit about my own experiences with bullying and how I felt about my appearance when I was her age, we dove into the My Beauty Story: Redefined Workshop, which aims to help shift our internal stories about beauty. Rewriting the script of what beauty meant to her brought me to tears, as she pointed out characteristics of a person making them beautiful vs. their physical appearance. According to research, more than half of girls aged 10-17 don’t have high self-esteem, 6 in 10 girls believe that to do well in life, they have to look a certain way, and 7 in 10 girls believe women who are beautiful have greater opportunities in life, so going through the toolkit with her at just 6 and a half and hearing her take on what defines beauty was really eye-opening! Our hour together has forever changed me. I hope she remembers what we talked about for the rest of her life, and in turn is able to inspire the girls around her to rethink their own definitions of beauty and thoughts about self-esteem and confidence.
Today I challenge you to join me and Dove to change how a girl sees and feels about herself in honor of International women’s day, because spending just an #hourwithher can improve a girl’s self-esteem for a lifetime! Together, we can reach the goal of educating 20 million more young people with self-esteem education by 2020.
Want to receive your own workshop-in-a-box toolkit? Dove is giving away a toolkit to 3 GWC readers! Comment below to enter – winner will be chosen at random and you can enter as many times as you’d like!
This blog post was written in partnership with the Dove Self-Esteem Project to encourage the next generation of girls to develop the confidence they need to reach their full potential!