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Although Canadian women win Olympic medals in hockey, wrestling and weight lifting; Candian women are astronauts, pilots, surgeons, CEOs, Supreme Court justicis, and for a brief moment in our history, even Prime Minister, we are still losing the battle for self-esteem. According to studies, girls' self-esteem peaks when they are about 9 years old, then tends to take a nosedive. Here is a look at why girls' self-esteem plummets and how you can prevent it.

Self-esteem is related to how we feel about ourselves: it's not just how we look but how we feel about how we look. And it's not just how successful or smart others say we are, but how confident we feel about our talents and abilities.

It’s a Fact!

  • Eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression are the most common mental health problems in girls.
  • 59% of 5–12th grade girls in one survey were dissatisfied with their body shape.
  • 20–40% of girls begin dieting at age 10.
  • By 15, girls are twice as likely to become depressed than boys.
  • Among 5–12th graders, 47% said they wanted to lose weight because of magazine pictures.
  • Health risks accompany girls' drop in self-esteem due to risky eating habits, depression, and unwanted pregnancy.

Why do so many girls have low self esteem?

  • Tweens are confronted with teen issues such as dating and sex early on.   Starting in the pre-teen years, there is a shift in focus; the body becomes an all consuming passion and barometer of worth.
  • Self-esteem becomes too closely tied to physical attributes; girls feel they can't measure up to society standards.
  • Between 5th and 9th grade, gifted girls, perceiving that smarts aren't sexy, start to hide their accomplishments.
  • Teenage girls encounter more stress factors in life, especially in their personal relationships, and react more strongly than boys to these pressures, which accounts in part for the higher levels of depression in girls.
  • The media, including television, movies, videos, lyrics, magazine, Internet, and advertisements, portray images of girls and women in a sexual manner—revealing clothing, body posture and facial expressions—as models of femininity for girls to imitate.


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