We are creating a new leadership programme, Young Women Lead, for young women aged 30 and under living in Scotland. This programme will create a unique and exciting safe space to hear the voices of young women in Scotland.

“I think women can be reluctant to enter politics because of the level of scrutiny over their appearance and the value judgements made about them.” – Status of Young Women in Scotland Report 2015.

Part of the focus of Young Women Lead is to increase young women’s political participation. Young Women Lead will create model Committee sessions and use innovative new media to connect diverse young women’s voices with MPs, the Scottish Government Equality Unit and Parliamentary digital and engagement staff.

Participants will meet with Scottish Parliament Committees twice per year for an interactive mentoring session on using social media to engage young women’s voices in parliamentary business. There will be four model Committee sessions to be held in the Scottish Parliament in partnership with Scottish Parliament Outreach Services and Digital staff, over the year. At least one MSP will attend each of these meetings. Young women will be asked to engage with their local politicians, organisations and other young women in their local area as part of this programme, developing relationships and strengthening communities.

The programme will support and empower participants to feel confident and comfortable representing the Young Women’s Movement in giving oral or written evidence to a Scottish Parliament Committee, on issues affecting their lives by the end of the programme. The idea being for young women to become more visible and greater participants in parliamentary business whilst gaining skills to enhance their employability, political engagement and voter engagement.

Participants

For the first part of the programme we are recruiting up to 50 self-identifying young women to help us shape what we believe is a valuable programme to empower and support young women in Scotland.

Young Women Lead will consist of a culturally and ethnically diverse group of young women under 30. Participants are women from rural and urban areas, with physical and learning disabilities, who experience mental health issues, experience of the care system, domestic abuse. All women who may have experienced stigma and discrimination as a result of structural inequalities based on their gender, sexual identity, ethnicity and age and as a result are underrepresented in Scottish politics.

Participation is at the heart of this project. We hope that the women taking part in Young Women Lead will gain and develop skills to go on to become influencers and citizen advocates in their communities and act as role models for others. For more information please contact Tomiwa@ywcascotland.org.