Today’s Lesson Plan: How to Unleash Your Power Within

Plan International Canada partners with Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) and Unilever Canada on The Power Within project to teach youth how to break down barriers and build body-confidence

TORONTO, September 28, 2021 – Do you remember how tough it was to navigate middle school? Friends, schoolwork, relationships, social events – and puberty – all at the same time. Now imagine that experience with social media and a year of isolation thrown into the mix. This is a hard time for youth in Canada and self-esteem is taking a hit. Recent research shows that 1 in 5 girls have felt anxious about going to school because of negative comments they received on social media and only 57% of girls in Canada are satisfied with their overall appearance*. It’s time to step up and support youth in countering negative body image so they can step into their full potential.

Plan International Canada has teamed up with Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) and Unilever Canada to boost confidence and build resilience among young people across the country through The Power Within, a three-year project that will give 1.5 million youth the tools needed to build self-esteem and body confidence. The project includes free downloadable and interactive resources that are academically validated and created specifically for educators and parents to help educate their children, peers or students. Plan International Canada is also running virtual youth workshops and working directly with youth to advise on the project.

“At Plan International Canada, it is our mission to ensure youth, especially girls, have access to education that will build their confidence and propel them into future leadership roles,” said Lindsay Glassco, President and CEO, Plan International Canada. “When girls opt out of opportunities due to a lack of self-esteem, society misses out on a generation of leaders, which is an outcome we can’t afford. The time is now for parents and educators to come together and ensure youth are equipped with the skills, knowledge and resiliency they need to lead the way for our future generations.”

As part of The Power Within project, Plan International Canada created an online community to give youth across Canada a safe place to gather, discuss issues related to self-esteem and body positivity and share resources. Youth ages 10-17 are encouraged to join the conversation by registering online at

“Our evidence from the Dove Self-Esteem Project shows 7 in 10 girls opt out of important life activities when they have low body-esteem, so it is critical that we work with Plan International Canada and Women and Gender Equality Canada to address low body confidence and self-esteem in our youth to help them unleash their full potential,” said Gary Wade, CEO, Unilever Canada. “Plan International Canada’s support will allow us to further contextualize and scale education materials and workshops to youth across Canada.”

Now is the time for parents, caregivers, mentors and educators to take action and download the free resources at to help ensure the future is full of confident, fearless leaders.

The Power Within resources available for download include:

  • Confident Me Guide – available as a single session or five session series, these one-hour trainings provide educators with tools to facilitate youth workshops that focus on appearance ideals, media messages, confronting comparison, banishing body talk and how to be the change.
  • The Confidence Kit – a guide developed for parents/caregivers that consists of a series of articles covering key topics that affect self-esteem and provides activities to boost body confidence for children.
  • Proud to be Me – a single session workshop created for Gay Straight Alliance programs, LGBTQ2SIA+ youth and allies between the ages of 10 and 14.
  • True to Me – an activity pack curated for leaders that includes fun activities to get groups talking about their thoughts and feelings around body image.
  • Uniquely Me – a guide of compiled articles and talking points to assist parents in navigating conversations around appearance, judgement and bullying.

*Dove Detoxify Beauty Research, January 2021 (Girls n=503 in Canada ages 10 and 17 & Women n=1,010 in Canada ages 18 – 55)


The Power Within project is a public-private partnership between Plan International Canada, Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) and Unilever Canada. The goal of this three-year project is to provide young people in Canada, especially girls and gender diverse youth ages 10-14, with the skills, knowledge, and resiliency they need to develop strong body confidence and self-esteem. By taking a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach, this project seeks to tackle the root causes of low self-esteem, body confidence, and gender equality that too often cause youth to opt out of leadership opportunities. To address these systemic barriers, The Power Within will work alongside youth and leaders in the beauty industry, media and other influential sectors to challenge beauty standards and promote authentic and inclusive representation of all people in Canada


Plan International Canada is a member of a global organization dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. We have been building powerful partnerships for children for over 80 years and are now active in more than 75 countries.

Visit for more information and follow @PlanCanada on social media to join the conversation.


WAGE works to advance gender equality through an intersectional gendered lens. Working in partnership with key stakeholders, including civil society organizations, labour groups, the private sector, other orders of government, and First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, WAGE actively promotes the inclusion of all people in Canada’s economic, social, and political life. WAGE works to uphold its mandate to advance gender equality by performing a central coordination function within the Government of Canada by developing and implementing policies, providing grants and contributions, delivering programs, investing in research, and providing advice to achieve equality for people of all genders, including women.


Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 2.5 billion people every day. We have 149,000 employees and generated sales of €50.7 billion in 2020. Over half of our footprint is in developing and emerging markets. We have around 400 brands found in homes all over the world. In Canada, the portfolio includes iconic brand such as: Dove, Knorr, Hellmann’s, Magnum, Axe, Ben & Jerry’s, Degree, Seventh Generation, SheaMoisture, St. Ives, TRESemmé, and Vaseline.

Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance. We have a long tradition of being a progressive, responsible business. It goes back to the days of our founder William Lever, who launched the world’s first purposeful brand, Sunlight Soap, more than 100 years ago, and it’s at the heart of how we run our company today.

The Unilever Compass, our sustainable business strategy, is set out to help us deliver superior performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while:

  • improving the health of the planet;
  • improving people's health, confidence and wellbeing; and 
  • contributing to a fairer and more socially inclusive world.

While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognized in 2020 as a sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and – for the tenth-consecutive year – as the top ranked company in the 2020 GlobeScan/SustainAbility Sustainability Leaders survey.

For more information on Unilever and its brands visit: or

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Plan International Canada
PR and Communications

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