Speakers Trust’s latest published research reveals a startling statistic: half of 15-year-old girls in England lack the confidence to speak in public. This figure highlights the crucial need to empower young people, particularly girls, with the skills and self-belief to express themselves in public forums. The equivalent figure for boys is around 30%. Still too high for our liking, but the gender gap is stark.
The research is part of Speakers Trust’s impact report from its flag ship Speak Out Challenge programme. The research shows that participating in workshops can lead to an increase in skills, confidence and the willingness to take up public speaking opportunities
But why is it so important to develop these abilities at a young age?
Learning to speak in public is about more than just skills. It’s about developing self-confidence and the belief that one’s voice matters. By providing young girls with opportunities to practice public speaking, we foster a generation of women who will be better equipped to voice their opinions, advocate for their needs, and contribute to society in meaningful ways.
Developing Communication Skills
Effective communication is a life skill that transcends school and work environments. Strong public speaking abilities can enhance interpersonal relationships and pave the way for successful collaborations in various facets of life. By teaching young people public speaking skills, we equip them with the tools to express their ideas clearly, persuasively, and empathetically, allowing them to connect with others more effectively.
Empowering Future Leaders
Public speaking plays a significant role in leadership. By addressing the confidence gap in young girls, we open doors to future opportunities and cultivate a new generation of strong, capable leaders. By nurturing public speaking skills, we encourage young women to envision themselves in positions of power and influence, ultimately working towards a more gender-balanced and equitable society.
Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity
When young people from diverse backgrounds are given the opportunity to develop their public speaking skills, they bring unique perspectives and ideas to the table. Encouraging inclusivity in public speaking helps to create a more balanced and representative discourse that reflects the richness of our society.
Public speaking can be intimidating, but by facing their fears and stepping out of their comfort zones, young people develop resilience and learn to overcome challenges. This resilience translates to other areas of life, fostering a growth mindset and the ability to bounce back from setbacks.
Today’s research is a wake-up call, demonstrating the urgent need to invest in initiatives that give young people, particularly girls, the chance to develop their public speaking skills. By doing so, we not only help individuals grow but also contribute to building a more confident, articulate, and empowered generation.
Speakers Trust works in over five hundred state secondary schools across England empowering young people to Speak and Be Heard. To learn more about this research or the work we do, please contact us