Social Media is not the biggest barrier in teenage girls becoming assertive and resilient adults. It’s how society limits them.

In her new book, ‘Soar!, for high school girls’ Despina Senatore aims to help teenage girls thrive during their teen years and open their eyes to endless possibilities.

Available for purchase now, Soar! aims to provide teenage girls with career insight, inspirational stories and various tools to live confident, empowered and purposeful lives.  Compiled and published by personal development coach, and mom of three, Despina Senatore, Soar! seeks to help address issues Senatore believes is creating some of the confidence issues young women face today and take with them into adulthood.

Soar! comes from Senatore’s desire to raise a generation of young women who feel confident to thrive in a modern world. The ubiquity of social media is usually the number one suspect when it comes to high-school girls’ low self-esteem and lack of confidence. But at its epicentre, many girls don’t reach their full potential because they’re told that they must conform to what society, and certain cultures, expect from them.

By creating a 12-month planner and guidebook filled with information to help girls to make informed decisions around future career choices and mindfulness exercises to cope with modern pressures, Soar! hopes to change all that.

Here are three ways to help teen girls grow into confident and resilient adults.

Create a family culture of equality

Sometimes even our best-intentioned actions can reinforce stereotypes and place limitations on our girls. In fact, children become aware of gender stereotypes, and how they should behave because of it, by *two years old. By creating a culture of equality within the family and being mindful of the language we use, we can show girls of all ages that their gender does not limit them. They’re not bossy, they’re confident; yes, they’re naturally social, but they’re also naturally good at maths; and while that doll is cool, so is that truck. Support her to make choices based on her interests and abilities and not on her gender.

Use social media as a positive tool

Social media can be a source of insecurity because our human tendency is to compare ourselves to others, and this tendency is worse during the teen years. These days, it’s impossible to keep teens off Instagram and TikTok. Therefore, it’s crucial to not only give your teen girl the tools to deal with social media but to also show her how to use it to learn. Social media can be a tool to build confidence, resilience and launch movements – look at Greta Thunberg, for example. Soar! is filled with articles that will help you navigate this topic, including safe behaviour online, dealing with bullying and mental well-being exercises.

Show her what’s possible

Frequently, girls don’t select professions in traditionally male-dominated industries because they don’t believe they are options available to them. Or they didn’t know how to get there. From coding to aeronautical engineering, there are hundreds of opportunities for teen girls to explore that didn’t exist when they were born. Encourage the teen girl in your life to explore these opportunities. To help you along the way, Soar! provides insight into 50 different careers from the perspective of young South African women and features interviews with 12 South African women succeeding in predominantly male-dominated fields.

To get a copy of this excellent guidebook, click here.


Challenging gender stereotypes in the early years: the power of parents by Our Watch.

Gender stereotypes in early childhood: a literature review.