Helping Others Important in Driving Women’s Sense of Self-Worth

Majority of Women View Self-worth as Most Important to Their Success

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New York, NY – For many women, feelings of self-worth are intertwined with the act of giving back, according to a new poll of over 1,000 women aged 18-74 conducted by Ipsos on behalf of L’Oréal Paris. Four out of five (81%) say that seeing other women giving back inspires them to do the same. Furthermore, women who do give back through their charity involvement (such as volunteering time or money, being a member, managing or being on the board, or founding the organization) are particularly likely to have a strong sense of self-worth compared to those who are not so involved (84% vs. 76%).

In addition to helping others (96%), personal relationships with their children (94%), spouse/partner (92%), friends (90%), parents (87%) help increase women’s self-worth. Many also see their community (74%) and social network (60%) as contributors in this regard. Other contributors to self-worth include aspects related to one’s body, such as health (85%), appearance (74%) and weight (59%), as well as their work/career (84%), financial stability (78%) heritage (80%), education (88%) and faith (86%). Many also view their passions/hobbies as giving self-worth (88%), as does overcoming adversity (92%).

Social media can also increase a woman’s self-worth, with nearly half (49%) agreeing that likes or comments on their photos or posts contribute to their sense of self-worth.

While there are many aspects of women’s lives that help build their sense of self-worth, there are many detractors as well, namely financial insecurities; seven in ten women (69%) agree that financial issues lessen their self-worth.

Conflicted Views of Self-worth

While eight in ten women (81%) report having a strong sense of self-worth, they can also be their own worst critic. Close to eight in ten (78%) say that they do not give themselves as much credit as they deserve sometimes, and three in four (75%) say that they are very hard on themselves.

  • Women aged 60 to 69 (87%) and those aged 70-74 (89%) were more likely than those aged 18-29 (75%) to say that they had a strong sense of self-worth.

At the same time, women recognize the importance of self-worth; seven in ten (71%) agree that self-worth is the most important factor in their success.

Female Relatives Most Likely to Be Named as Their Self-Worth Role Models

When asked to think of a woman who has a strong sense of self-worth, the vast majority of women (90%) name someone with whom they have a personal connection: female relatives are the most frequently mentioned, including their mothers (36%), daughters (13%), and grandmothers (11%), while one in five (22%) mention a friend. Considerably fewer name someone to whom they have a seemingly less direct or personal connection, such as a colleague (6%) or teacher (4%). Very few name someone outside of their own family or social network such as a politician (3%), a celebrity (3%), a businesswoman/leader (2%), a writer/journalist (1%), an athlete (1%), or an entrepreneur (0%).

Self-Worth Much More Likely to Be Associated with Work Ethic and Independence rather than Appearance or Wealth

In terms of the qualities women with strong self-worth are very likely to have, seven in ten or more of these surveyed say being hard-working (75%), independent (72%), honest (71%) and resourceful (70%), while being fit (27%), elegant (26%), beautiful (22%) or wealthy (15%) are attributes that are least likely to be associated with self-worth.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of L’Oréal Paris from February 6 to 14, 2014. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,006 women aged 18-74 from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel was interviewed online. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population of U.S. women been polled. The margin of error will be larger within sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were collected in a way to ensure that the sample's age, region, and ethnicity composition reflects that of the actual U.S female population according to Census information. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Rebecca Sizelove
Associate Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In the U.S., UK and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals.

Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

To learn more, visit:

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry.

With offices in 86 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,712,4 million (2 274 M$) in 2013.

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Helping Others Important in Driving Women’s Sense of Self-Worth

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Elen Alexov
Director, Marketing Services,
North America