A YouGov study, commissioned by Sky Academy, has revealed what (anecdotally) many of us had suspected – girls have lower confidence than boys in almost all situations. Indeed, the only area where girls boasted higher confidence than boys was when using social media. The study, which took in the views over 1,600 young people and 600 parents from across the country showed that 60% of girls would describe themselves as confident, compared to 67% of boys, especially when faced with new and unfamiliar experiences.
For the Sky Academy, which through their Living for Sport initiative aim to get young people into sports, the news is unfortunate. Indeed, other studies have found that only 8% of 13 to 15 year old girls do the recommended amount of physical activity and that as girls confidence falls, so does their participation in sports, opening up a participation gap between the genders. Leading a Sky Academy Confidence Day in Sheffield, the Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill called for more to be done to encourage the nations’ young people, and girls especially, to take up sports as a means of boosting their confidence, wellbeing and health.
The day she hosted, and the study commissioned, all form part of the Sky Academy Confidence Month. It’s showcasing the Sky Sports Living for Sport initiative that works with sports stars, schools and teachers across the country to build practical skills like teamwork, planning, resilience and communication. During that one day alone, over 300 young people aged between 11 and 18 tried sporting activities designed to help build confidence and self-belief. The event generated significant buzz on the sky customer services number 0844.
The troubling study also found that over two thirds of girls (66%) said that their confidence is influenced by how attractive or unattractive they feel, compared to just 46% of boys who made the same claim. Combined with the aforementioned link between low confidence and low participation in sports, it becomes quite clear that something must be done to help bring more young women into the world of sports, for both their confidence and health.On the day, Ennis-Hill said: “Confidence has played a big part in my success as an athlete. The enjoyment, focus and determination sport gave me as a young person was a huge part of developing my confidence and self-belief as I grew up. I am passionate about young people, particularly girls, taking part in sport and I am delighted to be part of Sky Academy’s Confidence Day. Sport can improve health, well-being and confidence while also teaching valuable life skills.”
Annette Du Bois, child confidence expert, said: “Sport can have huge benefits for girls of all ages, particularly when it comes to improving body confidence, fitness and general well-being. Modern society puts a wide range of pressures on young people to look a certain way and appear confident. However, we know inner confidence is something that a lot of young people struggle with, so encouraging young people to be active, play sport and be part of a team will help their development and build resilience.”
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