Why Building Self-Esteem is Fundamental for Empowering Girls
Updated: Aug 27
We understand the importance of young women empowerment and equal education, or at least I would assume, that we should by now. When girls are given the tools and resources for empowerment, communities see positive advancements in many different areas. Healthier societies are created and economic development occurs.
We know girls that are educated will go on to earn higher wages, raise healthier children, and make more informed choices about their lives. We also know education is key for launching girls towards empowerment. Still, we need to notice the influence that self-esteem has on lifting girls up.
A positive self-image is a groundwork that needs to be laid to make education such a powerful weapon for girls.
In many societies throughout the world gender equality has been an issue that has been fought for through generations. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum no country to date has yet achieved full gender equality. Places like Cambodia, where Women Going Beyond focuses its work, ranked 89/153 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index 2020.
Today, some societies are further ahead than others, but after generations of being held to traditional gender roles, girls tend to suffer from low self-esteem. These ideas are created by society, media, and even family members. Oftentimes young girls only hear that they are lesser than their male counterparts and aren’t worthy by those around them. After being told repeatedly that this is the meaning of their life, girls come to accept this as their identity.
Instead, we need to change the message and contradict everything society has always told them for years. Girls need to hear that they do belong and they are visible. By teaching them a different perspective and about their rights as women, we give them a reason to believe in themselves.
When we offer love, support, and respect we can change that self-doubt that limits young girls' capabilities. Self-doubt questions the idea of deserving more. Once a girl stops doubting herself, she will no longer feel defined by others. Girls who are given the chance to learn the power of their self-worth can change not only their narrative but society's narrative of them.
Once girls learn their voice is equal to others, they dare to ask for what they need or want even in a community that may not want to surrender it. Above all, they learn to think freely, causing their reality to shift. Girls begin to feel valued for their identity and knowledge.
We need to create an environment of confidence to motivate girls towards acting on their dreams.
A strong sense of self will help guide them through later challenges along their journey to empowerment. Once they see themselves worthy of education, they can then go on and decide what to do with that education and how to move other's minds.
Women Going Beyond is dedicated to women empowerment in South East Asia by offering skills courses online for self-growth and improvement.