16Olympia knows from her observations and experiences what the studies show: that between elementary and high school, girls’ self-esteem drops, on average, 3.5 times more than boys’.

This drop in female confidence often leads to not trying new things or taking on bigger challenges, dropping out of school activities, and not believing they are good in math or science. Other studies show that as early as middle school, girls are 25% less likely than boys to say they like taking the lead.

Even women well into their careers suffer from a lack of confidence. A KPMG study on women’s leadership noted that although 64% of respondents aspire to senior leadership positions, 56% of working women see themselves as being more cautious about moving toward leadership roles, and 59% of all women responded “I sometimes find it hard to see myself as a leader.”

That lack of confidence can be addressed by interacting with other successful women. Respondents in the KPMG study were “twice as likely to feel confident” if they had positive role models when growing up. In response to Olympia’s experiences in non-traditional roles, the KPMG study, and similar data, the Institute has emphasized the connections that participants have with successful women from a wide variety of career paths and life experiences.

The Institute’s three-year evidence-based program is fulfilling an unmet need, and is designed to intervene at a pivotal moment in girls’ development, giving them the skills and confidence that will serve them well throughout their lives.