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Dove surpasses self-esteem education target one year ahead of schedule

Dove has delivered one year early on its self-esteem education target. By the end of 2014, we had helped more than 15.8 million young people across 112 countries.

The Dove Self-Esteem Project

Group of girls

The Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP) was launched in 2004 when its Campaign for Real Beauty was in its infancy. The Campaign challenged the beauty status quo and offered a broader, more democratic view of beauty. It also inspired our brand vision of a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.

Because many of the factors that form women’s views on beauty and how they relate to their self-esteem start from a young age – and with full commitment to work to achieve this vision – the DSEP was established to help the next generation grow up feeling confident about the way they look so they are never held back from being who they are or achieving what they want in life.

Proven to be effective

At the core of the project are Dove’s self-esteem education programmes that build young people’s body confidence and strengthen their sense of self-worth. In 2014, the Dove ‘Confident Me’ school workshops for self-esteem were rigorously tested in some of the largest independent academic trials of their kind.

The results were excellent. Not only were the Dove workshops proved to significantly build body confidence but they also reduce the likelihood of girls disengaging socially and opting out of activities because of feeling bad about the way they look. With six in ten girls choosing not to participate in something because they don’t think they look good enough, these workshops can make a significant difference.

Unfortunately, studies show many of the leading body image programmes available today are not delivering the same positive impact as Dove’s Confident Me series. This only motivates us more to continue this important work and reach more young people with our high-impact education.

Today, Dove is the largest provider of body confidence education in the world and later this year Dove: Confident Me will be released around the world.

Partnerships, support and mentoring

Fostering partnerships to improve access to non-formal education programmes and providing more support to parents through online resources are also a vital part of the DSEP.

Dove’s partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) enables us to reach millions with self-esteem education. As part of this, the WAGGGS ‘Free Being Me’ badge – which launched in 2014 – has been picked up by girls in 112 countries, helping empower them to overcome appearance-related pressures and reach their full potential in life.

The DSEP has an online hub for self-esteem where parents can read articles and learn about activities created by world-leading experts in body confidence, self-esteem and girls’ development. Another pioneering study – commissioned by Dove and conducted last year by experts from the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England – found that girls with mothers who read the articles and advice on the hub had higher self-esteem and feel more positive than the girls with mothers who did not.

The girls weren’t the only ones to benefit; the mothers themselves improved their own body image too.

Dove always wants to inspire more women to become powerful role models and mentors for the girls around them through campaigns like Dove: Legacy and downloadable toolkits like Mindful Me (PDF | 6.9MB). Campaigns and resources like this are helping to fuel the positive social change we seek.

Steve Miles, Unilever’s Global SVP for Dove, says: “Dove is truly a ‘brand with purpose’, as we use our scale and reach to inspire and empower millions of women globally to change the world for the better.”

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