Footballer Katie McCabe sheds light on how important body-confidence is for young people

Irish footballer Katie McCabe has been making quite a name for herself in the world of women’s soccer, as she not only plays for Arsenal — a top tier Premier League team — but she’s also the captain of the Republic of Ireland women's national football team.

Despite her many sporting achievements, like the rest of us, Katie has also felt many moments of low body confidence and self-esteem, especially when she was growing up.

“I was always kind of self conscious about my legs. I was always like ‘why are my legs bigger than the rest of the girls’ in my class or in my school?’” Katie confessed when speaking exclusively to MummyPages.

“It wasn’t until after I started to get picked for regional teams and Ireland teams when I was around more people who had that athletic build like myself, and I was like ‘Oh, this is because I play football’, and it kind of resonated with me then.”

“Through those down-days of feeling self conscious or not feeling great about how I was feeling, having the support network with my family and friends was paramount for me,” the 26-year-old Tallaght native added.


Dove partners with Katie McCabe and sister Lauryn McCabe (14) to celebrate the return of the Dove Self-Esteem Project in Ireland.

Katie is now the proud Ambassador for Dove’s Self-EsteeM Project, which is an online tool and resource available in Ireland for parents, guardians and teachers to ensure the next generation grows up enjoying a positive relationship with the way they look, helping young people to raise their self-esteem and realise their full potential.

Dove has conducted an in-depth research study of young people in Ireland aged 10-17 to unearth how they view themselves, identifying that 6 in 10 boys and 9 in 10 girls do not have high body self-esteem.

Unfortunately, young people in Ireland do not have high body confidence and have low self-esteem. This can lead to significant health and social consequences, such as opting out of school and extracurricular activities such as sport. 70% of girls and 62% of boys in Ireland have not attended an extracurricular activity because of the way they have felt about their appearance.

“I have 10 siblings so I have seen over the years how self-esteem and body confidence can have a major effect on both boys and girls from a young age,” Katie continued. “I was sad, but not shocked to see there is a direct correlation between self-esteem and opting out rates for social activities.”

“As a Dove Ambassador I want to help make a change by shedding more light on the importance of supporting young people – like my sister Lauryn, to reach their full potential”.

Resources are now available for teachers, parents, mentors, and youth leaders across Ireland. To gain access to the tools or to register your school, check out the online learning hub dove.com/uk/dove-self-esteem-project

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