A programme tackling poor body image among young girls is to be rolled out across Girl Guide groups in Mayo.
According to a recent Department of Children and Youth Affairs study, more than one in five young girls and teens in Ireland are ‘dissatisfied’ with their body image.
However Girl Guide leaders in Mayo are hoping the new programme, called ‘Free Being Me’, will help to address this issue and ensure that poor body image and low self-esteem does not stop young girls from reaching their full potential.
Karina Dingerkus is the regional development officer for Mayo with the Irish Girl Guides and also leads a Guide group in Bohola.
She is one of the first leaders in Mayo to be trained to deliver the Free Being Me programme.
She hopes it will help young girls across the county to realise that looks are not as important as they think, so poor body image is not a barrier when it comes to girls reaching their full potential as young citizens of the world.
Nationally, it is hoped some 16,000 girls will participate in the Free Being Me programme over the coming months.
“The idea is to try and encourage girls to have a strong body image and that will lead to better self-esteem,” said Ms Dingerkus.
“It is about dispelling what is called ‘the body image myth’, which is that everyone should be beautiful and look a certain way to be acceptable.
“Girls, and increasingly boys too, are becoming much more conscious about how they look and how people see them from a very young age.
“We are constantly fed images of ‘ideal’ women, but the reality is that we come in all shapes and sizes and that is what we want to get across to the girls.”
The programme uses simple techniques such as exposing the extensive use of air-brushing in media depictions of women as well as role playing to examine body image issues.
The programme was developed by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS ) and the Dove Self-Esteem Project, and has been proven to tackle poor body image and boost self-esteem.
For more information on the programme, contact Karina Dingerkus on (087 ) 3283587.