The Female Lead


The Female Lead, a leading international charity dedicated to empowering women, has released exclusive ground-breaking research showing that when teen girls take the lead in their social media feeds by proactively following positive role models that inspire them, they can combat many of the negative mental health impacts associated with passive scrolling.

The academic research – the first longitudinal study with data spanning 5 years – proves that this simple intervention can provide a boost to teen girls’ mental health, not just in the short term but with striking long-term results. The Female Lead marked International Women’s Day 2023 with a new #DisruptYourFeed campaign online and offline in schools across the UK, to connect teens to new sources of positive inspiration.

The Research

Historically efforts have focused on restricting social media usage to mitigate its negative impact rather than improving the experience for young women. However, since 2018, The Female Lead’s #Disrupt Your Feed campaign has trialled interventions with teenage girls aged 14 to 18 years old to explore what types of social media interactions result in positive and negative mental health outcomes.

In 2019, the study first identified the untapped potential of social media to enhance teen aspiration and promote positive mental health from a simple intervention introducing new, diverse and positive female role models into the social media feeds of girls.

New data reaffirms this trend and further proves that taking the lead in your social media use, by actively searching out content that furthers your passions and aspirations, contributes to measurably better outcomes for teens.

The latest study also incorporates longitudinal data re-engaging with women from the original 2018 intervention and demonstrates that these interventions inspire a healthier relationship with social media in the long term.
Research also shows that teen girls are now eager to take control of their social media habits and are aware of the power and influence the platforms have over their wellbeing.

A recent Female Lead poll showed:
– 94% of respondents felt that social media platforms and/or government should do more to protect young people from extreme or harmful content online.
– 84% have personally made a conscious effort to develop better/healthier social media habits.
– 93% find that they spend much longer than they previously planned passively scrolling on social media.

“The release of our 2022 data confirmed the efficacy, longevity, and replicability of the #DisruptYourFeed intervention. The toxic impact of social media amongst teens is greater than ever, but when they connect with positive role models, we’ve proven that their mental health improves, they feel better about themselves and are setting higher personal and career goals.

The Disrupt Your Feed study highlights the need for better social media literacy amongst young people and wider societal understanding of how to manage social media as part of your daily life.” said Edwina Dunn, founder of The Female Lead.

The 2023 Campaign

The Female Lead’s global #DisruptYourFeed campaign has identified real, diverse role models – not just fake reality stars or airbrushed celebrities -for teen girls to follow. 32 million users around the globe are engaged with the campaign which is supported by more than 250 successful women such as MeToo Movement Founder, Tarana Burke; American ballet dancer, Michaela DePrince; actress Lena Dunham; fashion model Karlie Kloss; aspiring astronaut Abigail Harrison; and actress and activist Margaret Cho.

The Female Lead is encouraging teenage girls to take the 2023 #DisruptYourFeed pledge:

  1. Scroll with purpose
  2. Challenge the algorithm
  3. Take the lead in your own feed!

In addition to promoting inspiring stories online, the organization has published award-winning, beautifully crafted books with the sole purpose of sharing the stories of inspiring women.

The Female Lead: We Rise by Lifting Others Vol. II tells the stories of 67 women changing the world.

Little Mix phenomenon Jade Thirlwall, singer-songwriter Joy Crookes, best-selling author Megan Crabbe have joined actors Meryl Streep, Geena Davis and Shawn Colvin and Jodie Whittaker in sharing their inspiring stories.

In 2023, The Female Lead is seeking to partner with corporations and other organizations to donate an ambitious 5,000 copies to schools, reaching an estimated potential of 2.6 million students.



Latest Videos