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Dove, UNICEF partner to educate and empower girls

Partnership to help 10 million young gain better self-esteem and body confidence by 2022

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MUMBAI:  United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Unilever’s personal care brand, Dove have partnered to help 10 million young people across India, Brazil, and Indonesia gain better self-esteem and body confidence by 2022. The partnership announced at the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver will see Dove and UNICEF integrate modules from the Dove Self-Esteem Project, launched in 2004 to educate girls on body-confidence, and UNICEF’s Life Skills Programs.

The ‘Dove Self-Esteem Project’, which has so far reached 35 million young people, is the largest provider of self-esteem and body confidence education in the world. The project has been working to better understand the damage that low self-esteem can have on young people, including India.

According to a survey conducted by the project last year, 60 per cent of Indian girls do not have high body esteem and 65 per cent avoid important activities due to low body confidence. The survey highlighted that 60 per cent of Indian girls feel pressure to be beautiful – shown to have the largest impact on overall life satisfaction.

Speaking about the three-year partnership UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said, “Young people are some of the world’s best advocates, creators, and thinkers. Yet, feelings of disempowerment, low self-esteem, and a lack of confidence too often prevent them from speaking out, standing up for what they believe in and reaching their full potential. Through our new partnership with the Dove Self-Esteem Project, we are hoping to change that.”

The project also revealed that 70 per cent of girls with low body esteem fail to assert themselves or ask for help in school because they do not feel confident about the way they look. The same research showed that 80 per cent of girls with low body esteem have put their health at risk, for example by not attending a doctor’s appointment or skipping meals.

The new partnership will develop modules, with education specialists, psychologists and subject matter experts, urging young girls to fulfil their potential and exercise their human rights for a path to a promising future. The partnership will also encourage these girls to move beyond negative appearance-related dogmas affecting their health, education, careers and relationships.

“The Dove Self Esteem Project has reached 35 million young people and we are very happy to be partnering with UNICEF to empower 10 million more young people, especially girls. Issues with self-esteem and body confidence can have serious implications for girls’ development; so it is critical that we work to address them and help girls become the leaders of tomorrow,” said Dove parent company Unilever CEO Alan Jope.

Talking about the initiative in detail, Hindustan Unilever executive director and VP beauty and personal care Sandeep Kohli said, “Dove believes in the need to address unrealistic beauty standards and change them so that we can create a world where young girls can grow up to be women confident in their own skin. We are making progress towards this, however, we still have an enormous amount of work to do. Through our partnership with UNICEF, we hope to continue to help girls develop the resilience they need to overcome the impact of beauty and appearance pressures.”

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