Body image campaign aims to empower girls, shun stereotypes
The State Government is inviting teenage girls to join in creative workshops aimed at exploring ways to boost self-esteem and develop positive body image.
Their ideas will culminate in an online campaign to be launched next April.
The call for volunteers coincides with the United Nations' International Day of the Girl Child, which recognises the rights of girls and the unique challenges they face.
"Self-confidence and body image are among the most sensitive issues for young women," said Status of Women Minister Gail Gago.
"Research suggests that today's culture reflects an ideal of beauty that is harmful to the physical and psychological wellbeing of many people, particularly girls.
"This body image campaign is designed to empower young South Australian girls and remind them that character, skills and personality attributes are far more important than her weight and shape."
"We want a generation of young girls to look beyond stereotypes and find confidence within themselves, and then to share this self-assurance with their friends and their peers."
While the girls aged 13-18 will help develop the campaign, the target audience will be even younger.
"Messages received when a girl is between 7 and 12 are important to the development of positive body image as she becomes a teenager," said Vanessa Swan, Director, Office for Women.
"We will ask the older girls to help create messages that they wish they had heard when they were younger, and then we will ask parents and older sisters to share this campaign with younger girls."
Ms Swan said the team-brainstorming workshops, to be held during January school holidays, could result in a mobile application, a music video or a slideshow of objects precious to young girls.
The final pieces will be released online over six weeks starting 6 May 2015, International No Diet Day.
"It will be an organic, creative process, with the girls deciding the best methods to share their message. We're excited to see what comes out of this," Ms Swan said.
The Office for Women, which is leading the campaign, is also seeking older mentors with digital media skills to help turn the girls' input into online content.
Mission Australia's annual youth survey reflects body image as one of the top three concerns for young Australians aged 11 to 24, and in South Australia last year, 45.4 per cent of females were either 'extremely concerned' or 'very concerned' about body image, compared with 13.2 per cent of males.
To register your interest as a volunteer or mentor, visit the Women's Information Service website (www.wis.sa.gov.au), call (08) 8303 0590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.