‘Body confidence’ badge for Girl Guides

Girl Guides encouraged to break down damaging beauty ideals and boost self-esteem

A new ‘body confidence’ badge has been introduced to Girl Guide members in the UK.

Launched by Girlguiding UK and the Dove Self-Esteem Project on 20 March, the badge is the first of its kind. As a part of the programme Free Being Me, the badge is offered to girls aged 7-14 who have gone through body-confidence training led by peer educators.

Through challenging group activities, the girls are encouraged to question unhealthy beauty ideals and peer pressure surrounding appearance. At the end of the training, they are awarded the body-confidence badge, and urged to spread the message of acceptance in their communities and online.

“Young people today are under constant pressure to conform to impossible and unattainable standards of beauty in a society obsessed with image and appearance,” said Laura Ede, chair of Girlguiding’s Peer Education National Co-ordination and Support Team. “Free Being Me shows young people just how ridiculous this image myth really is.”

The project was initiated after research revealed low body-confidence among British girls. According to a Dove Global Survey from 2010, 6 out of 10 girls have stopped doing things they enjoy because they feel bad or insecure about their looks. Girlguiding’s Girl Attitude Survey shows that 87% of girls aged 11-21 think they are judged more on their looks than their abilities.

“Low body confidence is a serious issue that is having a vast and damaging impact on the quality of life of many young girls in the UK,” said Lucy Attley, brand director at Dove UK and Ireland. She views the project as a way to help young girls and women gain self-esteem, pursue their interests and reach their full potential in life.

The programme will run for two years, recruiting almost 1,000 women as peer educators in the process. It’s hoped the project will reach 3.5 million girls across the globe by 2016.