With International Day of the Girl approaching, here are tips on how to support girls in gaining confidence year-round from Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Board Chair of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and President & Board Chair of Charles Schwab Foundation.
Girls are powerful — both as individuals, and collectively.
As Boys & Girls Clubs celebrates International Day of the Girl, we continue our commitment to supporting girls year-round in building positive relationships, elevating their voices and pursuing their dreams as leaders and changemakers.
And empowering girls is needed more than ever.
Over the past few decades, the experience of girlhood has changed dramatically. The internet and cell phones redefined how we socialize and learn. Then, in 2020, the pandemic exacerbated existing challenges for far too many young people, from disrupted learning to health and financial struggles within families, to increasing mental health concerns like anxiety.
According to Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2022 youth data, today’s girls face challenges unlike any generation before them:
- 71% of girls rate their ability to cope with challenges as medium to very low.
- Nearly half of girls’ conflict resolution skills need improvement.
- 20% of girls report being bullied online, and too many say they didn’t report it to an adult.
Empowering girls to know their abilities, worth and potential gives them a foundation they can return to when times get tough.
4 Tips for Girls to Gain Confidence:
As a woman in the financial industry, I’ve certainly known that feeling many girls have when they enter a room – the need to prove yourself. But I’ve learned the only thing girls and women really need to be is themselves.
Here are the confidence-building tips I’ve learned throughout the years, which apply from the classroom to the boardroom:
- Be bold.
Sometimes an opportunity comes along you never expected – a potential hobby, a new person who could become a friend, the chance to participate in something. It can be easy to play it safe, but I challenge girls to be bold. Don’t let that voice inside your head deter you from speaking up or jumping in – you’ve got this.
- Find your superpower.
We all have different strengths that make us unique. Sometimes it’s what we do – being great at soccer or math or art – and sometimes it’s who we are – being a good listener, a caring friend or passionate about a cause. Use your strengths. (But don’t let them define you. You’re developing new strengths all the time and may even find that something you consider a “weakness” is actually a pretty great thing. You’re more powerful than you think.)
- Surround yourself with the right people.
Family, friends, teachers, Club staff – whoever they are, find people who bring out the best in you. Make sure you have a caring adult in your life you feel comfortable going to when things get tough.
- Be yourself.
It can be tempting to act like everyone else to help fit in. But I’m not a big fan of “fake it until you make it” and potentially losing what makes you “you” along the way. My father taught me that being humble, vulnerable and authentic is a superpower – and that has helped me throughout my life and career. Show up as you.
At Boys & Girls Clubs, girls’ leadership programs support young women in tapping into their potential and using their voices. They also offer valuable lessons for becoming independent and confident women – from financial literacy skills (my passion and area of focus) to managing emotions and building self-esteem.
Because when girls are empowered and have the right people to back them up, there is no limit to what they can achieve.
Give More Girls Great Futures
Programs at Boys & Girls Clubs help more girls develop the confidence, courage and critical life skills necessary to change the world. Your gift can help give more girls a great future!