Is Low Body Confidence Ruining Our Chances Of Getting Ahead?

Weight issues are causing women to skip important events like job interviews, a new report suggests

A new report published by the University of the West of England has found that body image concerns are preventing women and girls from turning up to work and school.

The report also suggests that a lack of confidence in the way we look could even affect our ability to contribute to society, as many young women feel they are overweight, which impacts mental and physical health.

The report, called ‘Costing the Invisitble: A Review of the Evidence Examining the Links Between Body Image, Aspirations, Education and Workplace Confidence’, looked at more tha 49,000 girls and women aged 10 to 60 across the UK, USA, Finland, Germany, China, India and Russia.

It discovered that 16% of girls don’t go to school when they don’t feel confidence in their looks and that those that feel the are overweight, irrespective of their actual weight, achieve lower grades. They are also less likely to engage in in clasroom debate: 20% of girls wouldn’t raise their hand to give an opinion if they felt bad about their looks on that day.

Dr Susie Orbach, psychoanalyst and author of the report, said ‘Young girls and women’s appearance concerns are hampering their economic and intellectual capacities. Yes they succeed. Yes they are doing well in school but they could be doing better.

‘The assault on appearance must stop before it robs more girls and women and increasingly boys and men from expressing themselves as ably as they might.

The imperative to look good as the rich industries which feed the beauty culture suggest is not a solution but a prescription for dissatisfaction.

The report concludes there is an ‘urgent need for intervention’ to reverse the trend of poor body image and poor body confidence.

‘The silent self-attacks are thwarting girls’ ambitions at exactly the time when society is apparently opening up to them.’

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