Self-esteem has become a national crisis in this country. The majority of girls (seven in ten) feel they do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance in school and relationships. Most disturbing is that girls with low self-esteem are engaging in harmful and destructive behavior that can leave a lasting imprint on their lives. These new findings come from Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem, conducted with girls between eight and 17 and commissioned by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. In response, the Dove(R) brand is launching its largest effort yet to bring self-esteem programming to girls across the country and to encourage everyone to make a difference in the lives of girls. This new initiative is part of the Dove Self-Esteem Fund goal to reach 5 million girls globally by 2010 with self-esteem programming.  According to the study, girls are craving better communication with adult figures as they struggle with challenges in their lives. The top wish among girls is for their parents to communicate better with them, including more frequent and more open conversations, as well as discussions about what is happening in her life. However, as girls enter their teenage years there is a significant loss of trust and communication with adults, particularly when they are feeling badly about themselves. “We cannot underestimate just how vital the words and actions of parents are in fostering positive self-esteem in girls. However, it can be challenging because adolescence is not typically a time when girls are reaching out to their parents and speaking candidly,” said self-esteem expert Jess Weiner, a best-selling author and the Global Ambassador for the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. “The good news is that if parents and other role models are willing to create a steady conversation of encouragement, honesty and openness it can definitely help girls gain confidence and reach their full potential.”  In addition to extending its outreach efforts including the creation of The Dove Self-Esteem Workshops, Dove has developed a range of powerful and engaging self-esteem online tools, workbooks and facilitator training guides for girls, moms and mentors that can be downloaded for free on the Dove Web site. To learn more visit http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com.

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