The research in question was carried out by the Future Foundation think tank, and involved carrying out face-to-face interviews with 500 girls aged between 11 and 17 throughout Britain, the results of which were mapped on to future employment forecasts.
Future Foundation used the study results to estimate the impact of low self-esteem on a wider scale, and predict that some 319,000 future businesswomen, doctors and lawyers and more than 20 possible future MPs could be lost by 2050 unless young women can be helped to feel confident about their own abilities.
The think tank found that negative comments from other girls about their appearance was a key factor in respondents feeling less confident. The study also revealed that low self-esteem was damaging to prospects, with only one in three of the girls believing in her ability to achieve a successful career in the future.
52% of the girls also admitted that they would happier if they were more ‘beautiful’, in the study that was commissioned by a cosmetics firm as part of a scheme to boost self-esteem.
Under the scheme, 800,000 children have already been involved in self-esteem classes – and the company is also working together with eating disorder charity Beat in a bid to provide more classes.
Future Foundation director of research, William Nelson has said that low self-esteem is common even among high achieving girls.
He added: “In every profession we looked at, we predict decent growth in the presence of women in coming decades – but numbers of women will not grow as strongly as they could if lowered self-esteem among girls and young women were to be addressed.”
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