An emerging body of evidence suggests that girls and young women experience significant barriers to achieving their potential through lingering gender stereotypes, risks of abuse in ‘dating’ relationships at an ever younger age, and sexualisation within the media and society in general.  All have been shown to have a negative impact on the self-esteem, educational achievement, aspirations and personal safety of girls and young women.

She was shy and didn’t believe in herself at all at first, but now she’s much more confident in the group, has made friends and likes to help others

Those studying the phenomenon recommend effective engagement with young people – especially girls and young women to develop their resilience and self-confidence, to support them in making informed choices and tackling the barriers they face and to offer opportunities to explore alternative, positive pathways in life.  YWCA Scotland is well-placed to deliver just such activities to make a positive difference in the lives of young women, girls and their communities.


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Zero Tolerance and YWCA Scotland.  2012.   Under Pressure:  Peventing Teen Abuse and Exploitation.  Edinburgh:  YWCA Scotland and Zero Tolerance.   

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