Young Women Lead

Taking up space in Parliament

Young Women Lead is a leadership programme for self-identifying young women aged 30 and under who live in Scotland, which focuses on increasing political participation.

The programme was created from a need to address the underrepresentation of young women in politics. Working with the Scottish Parliament, The Young Women’s Movement (YWCA Scotland) has designed the programme for 30 participants from a range of diverse communities to come together in the Parliament to run their own committee inquiry, focusing on a topic of their choice.

The group connects diverse young women’s voices with MSPs, the Scottish Government Equality Unit and Parliamentary digital and engagement staff.

Leaving a legacy

Young Women Lead was designed to inspire young women to become role models and leaders in their own community. Every participant is supported to take up a decision-making role within the NGO, public or private sector by the end of the 12-month programme, building a legacy of young women in board, volunteer and paid leadership positions across every region of Scotland.

The programme welcomes transgender participants, participants with disabilities, BME particpants and those from rural backgrounds. Through training days in the Parliament, the group is supported to address the gender inequalities they face in their own lives, sharing stories and creating a supportive environment to carry on their work.

Young Women Lead is also involved with the Empowering Pathways Programme in Glasgow, YGirls (covering 15 schools in Glasgow), and Gen Up.


In 2018, the Young Women Lead programme won a Scottish Public Service Award for the Championing Gender Equality category.

The annual Scottish Public Service Awards, organised by Holyrood magazine in association with the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament, celebrate excellence within Scotland’s public services. Find out more about the awards.


The 2017/18 programme

Read about the first year of the programme, who was involved and what was explored.


The 2018/19 programme

See what is participating in the programme this year, what topic they will be exploring, and all the important dates for the year.

This website is using cookies.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.