You are here:

Empowering girls and young women

Empowering women and girls

Empowering girls and young women

Our journey to the centenary year

We are proud that our projects create inclusive opportunities for people to come together for sport, art and cultural activities, helping break down barriers and build more tolerant, cohesive communities. 

As part of this mission, we have marked the centenary of some women winning the right to vote in this country by building on our commitment to empowering young women and girls. One of our goals for 2018 is to empower, inspire and engage young women and girls to improve their wellbeing, enhance gender equality, and develop social cohesion.

We have funded four major programmes that have been designed to give girls and young women the tools to challenge gender inequalities, and to be catalysts for change in their own communities, for the benefit of all.

2015 – WOW Spirit

Our WOW Spirit programme with the Women of the World (WOW) festivals has seen us fund nine festivals in five locations across the UK: Bradford, Exeter, Perth, Norwich and Cardiff.

WOW festivals celebrate women and girls, bringing people together to discuss the obstacles stopping them achieving their potential.

They are a tool for social change, and our WOW Spirit festivals are intended to reach some of the most marginalised voices in society, helping them to get actively involved in their local communities, and to improve their wellbeing.

WOW is the world's largest festival network of its kind, and has seen festivals held on five different continents.

Each festival – made up of talks, debates, music, activism, comedy, workshops, mentoring, pop ups and major concerts – celebrates women and girls, takes a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, raises awareness globally of the issues affecting women and discusses possible solutions.

2016 – Changemakers

Our Changemakers programme, run with Fawcett, gave seven small grants of between £8,000 and £15,000 to organisations for new projects offering creative, cultural, sporting or volunteering opportunities for women.

The projects helped women build their body confidence, challenge their objectification, and address the expectation that they will fulfil gendered – and undervalued – caring roles.

The aim was to generate new partnerships and projects to bring about lasting change. 

The seven projects funded through Changemakers included schools workshops, photography projects, and working with groups ranging from young carers in Edinburgh to girls at-risk of gang activity in London – the one thing they all had in common was their commitment.

All projects worked intersectionally – combining gender with talking about intersecting dynamics of ethnicity and race, and disability to reflect participants’ lived experiences.

2017 – Sporting Equality Fund

Working with the Scottish Government, our Sporting Equality Fund supports 12 projects targeting women and girls to participate in sport and physical activity.

From wheelchair basketball in Glasgow, to judo in Fife and bikepacking adventures in the Highlands, the projects within this £300,000 programe tackle the barriers that lead to historically lower levels of physical activity among girls than boys in Scotland.

To date, hundreds of girls and young women have been provided with opportunities to participate, progress and achieve in sport, as well as be better connected in their communities.

The Venture Trust have used their funding to target women, aged 16+, who have a history of (re-)offending, and those at high risk of offending as a result of substance misuse.

Netball Scotland have developed their 'Sirens for Success' programme across Scotland to target inactive and disengaged secondary school girls in order to educate, empower, engage and inspire.

Fighting Chance Project (Scotland) has established a judo programme for those less active, with a disability or social and behavioural issues.

These and many more projects located across Scotland will leave a lasting legacy of healthier, happier girls and young women. 

2018 – EmpowHER

EmpowHER, jointly funded by the #iwill Fund and delivered by UK Youth in partnership with the British Red Cross and Young Women’s Trust, will help young women and girls lead change in their communities.

The programme has been designed to increase self-esteem and build wellbeing by providing inclusive and meaningful social action opportunities.

Young women and girls in some of the country’s most deprived and disadvantaged areas will be empowered to lead change. 

EmpowHER will deliver face-to-face activity sessions with young women and girls through a 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.