Recent research by Dove and Nike has shed light on the alarming trend of 45 per cent of teenage girls globally dropping out of sports, a rate twice as high as boys, largely due to low body confidence.
To better understand this issue, a survey involving 4,917 children from various countries and backgrounds was conducted, with 3,506 girls and 1,391 boys aged 9-17 participating.
In response, Dove has partnered with Nike to introduce the Body Confident Sport online coaching program.
The program, developed over two years in collaboration with experts such as the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) and the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, provides coaching tools to enhance the body confidence of 11–17-year-old girls.
This marks the first time Dove and Nike have combined their expertise to empower girls in sports, focusing on self-esteem rather than just performance.
Working in partnership with Dove, Venus Williams, tennis champion and entrepreneur said: “In sports, girls often face a tremendous amount of pressure – not just around performance and abilities, but also because of unrealistic expectations around their appearances. I am excited to be working with Dove on this initiative to help nurture girls’ self-belief and confidence, foster a positive environment, and shift the conversation from appearance to capability. Our shared goal is to make sports a more inclusive, welcoming space for girls everywhere.”
Alessandro Manfredi, Dove Chief Marketing Officer, said that since 2004, Dove has been working to arm the next generation with tools to build body confidence and self-esteem so that no young person is held back.
“As the world’s leading provider of self-esteem and body confidence education for girls, we have a responsibility to support girls wherever their self-esteem is at stake,” he said. “Sports have the potential to make girls feel confident and strong, yet for so many, the judgement and criticism they face within the sports environment is damaging their confidence and limiting their self-belief. We are proud to team up with a likeminded brand like Nike to take action towards a more equitable future for girls – on and off the field.”
Vanessa Garcia-Brito, VP Chief Social & Community Impact Officer at Nike, said globally girls faced complex cultural and social barriers, and they also entered sports later and dropped out of sports earlier.
“Together, we’re taking action to break barriers by providing coaches with the tools to empower girls with a lifetime of confidence,” she said. By shifting the conversation from what their bodies look like to what their bodies can do – so more girls can stay in sports and experience the benefits – we believe we’re creating the next generation of female leaders and changemakers who will move the world forward.”
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