A group of young women from across Scotland will today take over a Holyrood committee room as part of a project to increase political involvement.
The Young Women Lead project, which is run by the Young Women’s Movement, is a leadership programme for young women aged 30 and under and aims to increase political participation and connect a diverse range of voices to Scottish politics.
The project will see the group hold a series of committee meetings at the Scottish Parliament in order to gain more experience of how the Scottish Parliament works.
Chaired by Deputy Presiding Officer, Linda Fabiani MSP, the committee meetings will see the group hear from a range of witnesses on the issue of sexual violence, particularly sexual harassment experienced by women in education, a topic chosen by the young women themselves.
Speaking ahead of today’s meeting, Deputy Presiding Officer, Linda Fabiani MSP said:
“I am thrilled to be involved in the Young Women Lead project, a project which is designed to not only help young women across Scotland find their voices but to ensure that these diverse and underrepresented voices are heard in the Scottish Parliament.
“The topic which the group has chosen to explore is something that all too many women will have faced in their lives – sexual harassment and violence experienced in education. It speaks volumes for the passion and commitment of these young women that they are willing to tackle such an important subject and I am looking forward to seeing the impact they make.
At today’s meeting, the group will hear from Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland, Girlguiding Scotland and Zero Tolerance before meeting again at Holyrood on Friday 20 April and Friday 18 May.
Jemma Tracey from the Young Women’s Movement said:
“Young Women Lead presents a unique opportunity to have young women in all their diversity feed into Scottish politics.
“It is such a privilege for us as organisation to have partnered with the Scottish Parliament in co-designing this pilot programme with young women.
“The Young Women Lead programme also supports young self-identifying women to develop leadership skills, knowledge of human rights issues, and their own professional networks. We're aiming high, and we cannot wait to see how this programme develops. “
One of the participants in the project, Emily Davis said:
“100 years ago, the first group of women in the UK got the right to vote. Young Women Lead allows us to stand together in the Scottish Parliament building and form our own parliamentary committee. That blows my mind. I know life is still hard as a woman. But this would have not have been possible years ago. I wish those brave women could see us now.”
The Young Women Lead project involves 38 women from across Scotland. During the project, the participants will gain and develop skills to enhance their confidence as well as increase employability, political and voter engagement.
More information about the project can be found here.