Young Women Lead

Amazing Opportunities

Young Women Lead is a new leadership programme for young women aged 30 and under living in Scotland. Over the next three years, The Young Women’s Movement will provide a safe space for up to 100 young women to explore gender and equality and develop new and innovative ways to lead change. The programme aims to increase the visibility of young women’s contribution to Scottish society, politics and policy. Young Women Lead will empower young women to give oral and written evidence in Parliament on issues affecting their lives.

“My name is Esme Leitch, I’m 20 years old and currently live in a remote rural village in the West Highlands. I applied to be part of the Young Women Lead Programme as I am passionate about gender equality, with a particular interest in female empowerment in rural communities, such as the Highlands, where I have witnessed first-hand the more emphasised gender roles, a larger pay gap and fewer women in leadership positions compared to urban areas. I am also involved in the movement towards gender equal politics.

My experience with YWL has been absolutely amazing and totally life changing. I have had the chance to be inspired by and form friendships with other passionate and politically engaged young women which has been incredibly empowering. Activism and fighting for gender equality can sometimes feel quite lonely and hopeless but having this supportive network of amazing women has empowered to me to be brave and proactive in making change in the world.

I studied politics at Higher at school but I have learned so much more about the parliament and the Scottish political system than I knew before which has encouraged me to become much more engaged in politics and consider a career in it in the future. The programme also gave me confidence and knowledge to apply for a job otherwise I probably wouldn’t have felt capable to do which I’m really excited to say I have been offered the position of Highland Youth Convener . I will certainly be using the work I did with YWCA Scotland about political outreach and sexual harassment in schools. I cannot thank the team at YWCA Scotland enough for the amazing opportunities I have had over the last year and I am looking forward to continuing being part of their work in other capacities!’