Body-shaming is an epidemic. Body Confidence Awareness Week (BCAWeek) helps to create systemic
shifts in schools and community organizations by addressing body and/or appearance-based discrimination
as a legitimate form of gender - based violence through awareness, prevention and intervention.
BCAW provides an opportunity for students, educators, school staff, community stakeholders (i.e. parents
, caregivers etc.) and local organizations to gain an intersectional socio-cultural awareness of the importance
of respecting body diversity. Body Confidence, is an individual’s ability to “love the skin they are in” within a
safe, caring, equitable and inclusive environment where they are free from judgment, exclusion, lack of access
to resources or ridicule because of their physical appearance. Body Confidence can only be achieved if body
equity is front and centre. When youth feel comfortable “in their skin,” their self-esteem radiates. This directly
compliments their ability to be better social, emotional, academic and civically well-rounded students with a
greater impact of their student voice resonating in their school and larger community.
We invite your school board, division, and community organizations to consider adopting the 2nd week of
October annually as Body Confidence Awareness Week. According to most research, appearance, body
image, and sometimes referred to more generally as “looks,” emerges as the greatest concern of children/
youth of any age. Adults are not immune either with over 95% of adults, inclusive of all genders reporting
‘body issues’ and experiences with body discrimination.The societal pressures to adhere to unrealistic body
and beauty ideals also encompass more than only size, shape and weight concerns. Pressures are often
experienced to an even greater extent for those of whom their body image intersects with their identities as
disabled, racialized, LGBTQ2, gender non-conforming and newcomers often dealing with acculturation/
assimilation influences among others.
Adopting BCAW in school boards, divisions and organizations provides an opportunity to raise
awareness of body differences and similarities in a way that encourages conversations. It also
provides opportunities for youth and adults to practice advocacy and leadership skills as Body
Confidence Ambassadors (BCAW). Similar to other institutionalized days or weeks of significance,
BCAW is meant to engage entire communities. Most importantly it allows for a dialogue that goes
far beyond healthy eating and healthy activity – the dominant discourse in most spaces. Education
about nutrition and movement on their own are limiting in the engagement of people about body
image and self-esteem. Education must include an awareness about the environmental, social and
structural policies and practices that support every day overt and even ‘invisible’ body-based
discrimination as a system.
BCAW provides an opportunity for:
A deeper, whole-person, culturally-relevant approach to body confidence which includes social and
emotional confidence, and learning about the importance of healthy relationships and mental health.
Learning about some of the social determinants that make our bodies ‘look’ and ‘move’ differently.
Learning about the ‘isms’ or stigma and oppression that impact how we feel about our bodies and
Learning how to create, implement and evaluate body equity through a Body Equity Walkthrough© checklist
Ensuring all spaces are equitable & inclusive to all bodies.
Recognition of body confidence as a human rights issue for everybody.
Collaboration with Body Confidence Canada between your school or organization with Body Confidence Canada
to support your BCAW Programming.
Most recently BCC is advocating to have the second week of October designated Body Confidence
Awareness Week throughout Canadian School Districts and Divisions. Contact us to learn how you can bring BCAW to your
school board or organization.
TDSB Celebrates the Inaugural Body Confidence Awareness Week
On April 19, 2017 Toronto District School Board, Canada’s largest school board, became the first to
pass this motion created by Trustee Tiffany Ford and seconded by Trustee Jennifer Story
On May 15th, 2017 Winnipeg School Board, the largest school division in Winnipeg, Manitoba passed this motion
created by Trustee Lisa Naylor.
CTV News Trustee Lisa Naylor proposes Body Confidence Awareness Week
Canadian Women's Foundations October 2017 Back to School Newsletter Features Tips for #BCAWeek