A recent study by the Centre for Appearance Research and AnyBody has revealed that low body confidence in females has a detrimental effect on academic confidence and performance. The report, ‘Costing the Invisible: A Review of the Evidence Examining the Links between Body Image, Aspirations, Education and Workplace Confidence’ was written at UWE’s Centre for Appearance Research, which focus on psychological and interdisciplinary research in appearance, body image and related studies.

Many women and young girls refrain from participating in classroom activities due to lack of confidence about their appearance // Credit: Creative Commons
Many women and young girls refrain from participating in classroom activities due to lack of confidence about their appearance // Credit: Creative Commons

The study revealed that up to 20% of female students refrain from partaking in classroom debates due to lack of confidence with their appearance and 16% have even skipped school when they felt low about their looks; moreover, it showed the negative effects of the pressure that society puts on the fairer gender to consistently look their best. This pressure may then leave these women feeling unsatisfied with their appearance, which in turn could lead them to suffer in other aspects of their lives. “I often didn’t go into sixth form due to feeling so badly about my appearance,” reveals Abi Ryan, a first year Bristol University science student, “I would skip lessons when I knew there were presentations due because I didn’t feel confident enough to stand up in class.” The report concluded that body image concerns are holding back many women and girls, as they are not able to reach their full potential.

At UWE, a scheme called Feel Good February aims to help students to ‘feel good’ by living a healthy, happy, and active lifestyle, and could benefit women and girls academically by ensuring that they feel confident about themselves. It is a month long event filled with sporting activities, cooking demonstrations and competitions.  The events will run at Bower Ashton, Frenchay and Glenside from the 1st until the 28th of February and will not only beneficial for the wellbeing of students, but a lot of fun to get involved with too!

By Rhiannon Thomas