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14.06.2007 Commentary

Boost Your Self-Confidence

Teens encounter a lot of problems regarding their self-esteem as they grow up. Sometimes girls have more problems with low self-esteem and low confidence than their male peers.

Why is this? Are self-esteem and confidence determined by your being male or female?

The answer is No! Self-esteem and confidence are not determined by the sex of a person. However, a person's self-esteem and confidence can be greatly affected by how she or he is treated by other people — parents, siblings, relatives, teachers, neighbours, religious and community leaders, etc.

Unfortunately, in some cultures boys and girls are treated very differently and this can greatly affect how they see themselves and their abilities. For example, in some families, boys may be given more opportunities for education and job training and teachers sometimes pay more attention to boys.

Girls, on the other hand, may not get the same opportunities. They may be pulled out of school. They may not be allowed to spend time playing with friends or playing sports as their brothers can.

In addition, their hard work around the house and in the fields seem to go unnoticed and unappreciated. As a result, girls and women may feel less valued and they may begin to believe that they are not worth as much as boys and men.

But this is not true! All people are equal. If given the same opportunities, girls can do just as well as boys in school, in jobs and in anything else they want to do.

It can be very hard if you are a girl and live in an environment where you constantly feel as though you are not valued as much as a boy. Here are some things you can do to cope with this situation:

• Always remember that you are worth just as much — no matter what anybody else says. You are just as intelligent and capable as everybody else.

• Rely on yourself for praise and satisfaction when you do something well. Don't wait for praise from other people who are unlikely to give it.

• Take every opportunity you have to learn new skills and make the most of them. Remember, every time you succeed at something you will be proving to yourself and to others that you are worth just as much as anyone else.

• In school, even if you are very shy, you need to learn to speak up. Show your teacher that you are paying attention and working hard. Some girls are afraid to speak in class and they let the boys get all the attention.

Story by Fanny Nana Ampon

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