Women's Body Confidence is 'Critical Issue' World Wide

How do you feel when you look in the mirror? If you feel a sense of self-doubt, you’re not alone.

Alarming new statistics have found that women hate their bodies more than ever, with a staggering 89 percent of Australian women choosing to cancel job interviews, plans or events purely based on the way they look.

Worryingly, the way women look at themselves has reached ‘critical level’ on a global scale, with just 4 percent of women worldwide considering themselves to be beautiful.

Surveying more than 10,500 women aged between 10 and 60 from 13 countries, The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence report is the largest study the brand has ever commissioned and it has uncovered some telling statistics.

When it comes to body confidence, Australian women are on par with the UK as having one of the lowest body confident scores in the world with just 20 percent saying they have high self-esteem.

Japanese women scored the lowest with just 8 percent happy with their appearance, while South African women scored the highest at 64 percent.

While women’s body image views have changed a lot over the years, it seems there’s still a lot of change to be made. Some of the key findings included:

  • Nine out of 10 girls want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance.
  • Six out of 10 girls are so concerned with the way they look that they are holding back from participating in important life activities.
  • 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful.
  • 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty.

Women globally noted that media and advertising played a big part in pressuring them to reach an unrealistic standard of beauty. Two thirds of women said this was the key force in driving their appearance anxiety.

But there was some good news around body image to come out of the research.

Most women who took part had a pro-active desire to challenge body norms and stereotypes with 71 percent of women and 67 percent of girls calling on the media to better portray women’s age, appearance, race, shape and size.

Women also identified that part of challenging their body anxiety came down to taking better care of themselves, their bodies and their minds.

While we have a long way to go with women's body confidence issues, Victoria Sjardin, senior global director of Dove Masterbrand, said they were committed to improving how women feel about themselves.

“For over 50 years, Dove has been committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety," she said.

“With this new research, we hope to inspire women and girls everywhere to develop a positive relationship with the way they look.”

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