Dove partners with Venus Williams and Nike to build girls’ body confidence

By Julia Wray | Published: 25-Oct-2023

45% of teenage girls globally drop out of sports due to low body confidence, while nearly half of US girls dropping out were told they didn’t have the right body

Tennis champion Venus Williams is joining forces with Dove and Nike to launch an online coaching programme to build body confidence in girls. 

Aimed at 11 to 17-year-old girls, Body Confident Sport is the product of two years’ co-development between the personal care brand and the sportswear label. 

The brands also worked with the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) and the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport to deliver a set of coaching tools to build body confidence in girls.

According to Unilever-owned Dove, Body Confident Sport is proven to reduce self-objectification and increase body-esteem, and will be delivered through a global network of organisations in schools and sports clubs. 

Recent research from Dove and Nike revealed 45% of teenage girls globally drop out of sports – at twice the rate of boys – with low body confidence being the biggest driver. 

In the US, meanwhile, 48% of girls dropping out were told they don't have the right body for sports and 56% were objectified or judged on their physical appearance.

The majority (69%) said they thought they would be more body confident if they had stayed in sport for longer.

“Sports have the potential to make girls feel confident and strong, yet for so many, the judgement and criticism they face within the sports environment is damaging their confidence and limiting their self-belief,” said Dove’s Chief Marketing Officer, Alessandro Manfredi. 

“We are proud to team up with a like-minded brand like Nike to take action towards a more equitable future for girls – on and off the field.”

To unveil Body Confident Sport, Dove teamed up with seven-time grand slam champion Williams, who commented: “In sports, girls often face a tremendous amount of pressure – not just around performance and abilities, but also because of unrealistic expectations around their appearances. 

“I am excited to be working with Dove on this initiative to help nurture girls’ self-belief and confidence, foster a positive environment, and shift the conversation from appearance to capability. 

“Our shared goal is to make sports a more inclusive, welcoming space for girls everywhere.” 

The online programme includes interactive training modules to help coaches, including volunteers, teachers, parents, guardians, caregivers and siblings, to inspire young athletes to feel more body confident while playing sport. 

It is aimed to help coaches recognise and tackle negative body image in their athletes and promote body confidence.

Introductory videos and downloadable guides can be found on a dedicated Body Confident Sport website. 

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