New Study: 72 Percent of Girls Feel Held Back by Society

“Girls can’t be brave” and “girls aren’t strong” are limiting phrases seemingly from a bygone era, but a new Always social experiment reveals that many girls today feel limited by society’s expectations about women. In fact, data from the most recent Always Confidence & Puberty Survey, shows that 72 percent of girls feel held back by society, which they feel dictates what they should and shouldn’t do.  Additional findings from the study:

  • More than half of girls (53 percent) ages 16 to 24 feel they lacked the confidence to do whatever they wanted to do after puberty.
  • Almost all girls (89 percent) feel there is pressure to conform to the way they’re supposed to feel and act.
  • Sixty percent of girls believe that society’s expectations have a negative impact on their life.
  • Girls are almost twice as likely as boys to say they did not feel comfortable doing an activity in school because of their gender


The results of the survey were released today along with the launch of Always’ latest video entitled “Always #LikeAGirl Unstoppable.” This new video highlights how society’s expectations have a profound impact on girls’ confidence, especially when entering puberty. Girls and women of varying ages and backgrounds were asked if they were ever told they should or shouldn’t do something because they’re a girl. Find out their answers by watching the video here:

With the new “Always #LikeAGirl Unstoppable” video comes the next phase of the Always #LikeAGirl campaign: the creation of the Always Global Confidence Teaching Curriculum, a program that will benefit millions of girls around the world. The new confidence teaching curriculum, incorporating the latest research on confidence-building, is being co-developed by Always and education-thought leaders and experts. The curriculum builds on Always’ 30 year heritage in puberty education and will reach up to 20 million girls in 65 counties per year. Additionally, TED, the non-profit devoted to spreading ideas, has committed to support Always in teaching confidence to young girls. In this first-of-its-kind partnership, Always and TED will develop and spread confidence-inspiring content through TED-Ed, a leading educational platform spreading lessons worth sharing.


“In the spirit of TED’s mission, ideas worth spreading, we are partnering with the #LikeAGirl campaign to reach young girls at a critical stage in their lives,” said Stephanie Lo, TED-Ed Programs Director at TED. “We’re excited to work with Always on developing engaging educational content to help girls around the world maintain confidence through puberty and beyond.”


Your Turn:  What is the best piece of advice you would give to a girl about being unstoppable?


by Patti Minglin