Low body confidence bad news for businesses

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A new report is revealing the shocking extent to which women’s body issues are impacting their everyday lives – both personally and professionally – with one advocate calling on employers to address the situation.

More than 10,500 women from 13 different countries were questioned in Dove’s Global Beauty and Confidence Report with more than half admitting they won't be assertive in their opinion or stick to their decision if they aren't happy with the way they look.

The survey – which is the beauty company’s most comprehensive to date – also revealed that low body esteem seriously impacts a woman's ability to realise her potential, with nearly 85 per cent of women saying they opt out of important life activities – like job interviews – when they don't feel good about the way they look.

Perhaps most worryingly, nearly a huge 78 per cent of women said they feel some pressure to never make mistakes or show weakness.

“It is unsurprising that this research would show that women feel impacted in their workplace because of body image concerns,” said women’s health coordinator Meg Rayner-Thomas.

“If a person is feeling judged and like they are falling far short of pressure to fit a specific ideal, then it is probable that it would affect how they interact and contribute with their workplace,” she added.

Rayner-Thomas works with Women’s Health Action to promote the organisation’s healthy body image program – she told HRM that employers aren’t powerless in the fight against low body confidence.

“Employers absolutely can take steps to promote body confidence in the workplace and encourage employees to feel comfortable sharing, being creative, taking risks, etc. 

“One major step is for employers to acknowledge body diversity and create a workplace environment that is comfortable and accessible for all employees,” she suggests. “Another would be to have a workplace culture that discourages talk about diet or weight loss or even other aspects of appearance.

“Having a workplace that promotes diversity and inclusiveness can go a long way towards helping employees feel welcome and confident in their contributions,” she stressed.

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