The new suffragettes: Young women and girls empowered to lead change

Programmes
Photo about the EmpowHER programme

● To mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, we’ve launched a new programme to empower young women and girls to use their voices for positive change – just as their predecessors did 100 years ago

● The new programme, EmpowHER, will help young women and girls lead change in their communities, increase their self-esteem and build wellbeing by providing inclusive and meaningful social action opportunities

● EmpowHER is delivered by UK Youth, in partnership with the British Red Cross and Young Women’s Trust, with funding from Spirit of 2012 and the #iwill Fund

Young women and girls in some of the country’s most deprived and disadvantaged areas will be empowered to lead change through EmpowHER, a new social action programme delivered by UK Youth, in partnership with the British Red Cross and Young Women’s Trust. EmpowHER will address the worryingly low levels of wellbeing amongst young women and girls in the UK and support them to have a voice, be heard and give back to their local communities.

Patrick Shaw-Brown, Director of National Programmes said: “Young women and girls are vulnerable to feeling low self-worth and self-esteem. Body image, social media, lack of positive roles models, reinforced gender biases and poor mental health were reported as the biggest barriers to building self-esteem for young women and girls in our network. EmpowHER will support young women and girls to overcome these barriers by unlocking new opportunities, providing aspirational and relatable role models, and offering crucial support systems.”

Through EmpowHER, we will deliver face-to-face activity sessions with young women and girls through our network of youth organisations. The sessions will focus on themes of individuals’ rights, empowerment and resilience, as well as activities exploring inspirational women in history.

The young women and girls will then be supported to give back to their community through inclusive and meaningful social action opportunities, provided by the British Red Cross.

Patrick Shaw-Brown added: “Many young women and girls are passionate about giving back to their local community but need support to access inclusive and relevant opportunities. Projects that encourage community integration, tackle loneliness and isolation and campaign for change seem to really resonate with them. That’s why we’re excited to work with the British Red Cross and Young Women’s Trust to offer inspiring and inclusive opportunities for all young women and girls; learn what empowers them to lead change and share our insight with the rest of the sector.”

Michael Adamson, CEO at British Red Cross: “We are delighted to support girls and young women taking their first steps into social action, enabling them to make a difference in their communities and help develop their skills, confidence and have new life-enhancing experiences.

“The British Red Cross has 20,000 volunteers across the UK, a fifth of whom are young people. We want to be there so that anyone who is keen to show their kindness through volunteering can do so, no matter what skills, experience or free time they have.”

As part of EmpowHER, the Young Women’s Trust will be delivering specialised leadership training and confidence coaching workshops to develop new young women leaders of the future.

Chief Executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said: “Young women are more likely to be on low or no pay, have insecure jobs and face discrimination and sexual harassment. A hundred years on from gaining the vote, they remain under-represented in decision-making and often their voices go unheard. We are excited to have the opportunity to help more young women become leaders in their communities, so they can make their views heard, lead change and move us closer to achieving equality for women.”

The programme is jointly funded by Spirit of 2012 and the #iwill Fund – both equally contributing to a £1.8 million grant to address the worryingly low levels of wellbeing amongst young women and girls in the UK. The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £40 million joint investment from the Big Lottery Fund, using National Lottery funding and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to support young people access high quality social action opportunities.

Debbie Lye, Chief Executive of Spirit of 2012 said: “Social action provides a double benefit to society with those taking part gaining vital life skills while giving back and creating change within their local community. We are delighted to mark the centenary of female suffrage in the UK by funding EmpowHER and inspiring young women and girls to make social change in some of the country’s most deprived and disadvantaged areas.”

Over two years, EmpowHER will support almost 1,500 young women and girls in our network.

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