Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders: Dumfries and Galloway’s Young Women’s Celebration and Conference

Tuesday, 12 March 2024 16:20

Dumfries and Galloway’s Young Women’s Network hosted their inaugural conference and celebration evening focussed on empowering young women and girls – part of last weekend’s programme of events to mark International Women’s Day.

The conference, held in the North West Castle in Stranraer, brought together over 140 young women and girls, community leaders, educators, and advocates for a day of inspiration, education and strategic planning, where they later discussed an exciting new strategy aimed at creating a fairer and safer region for young people.

Throughout the conference, attendees had the opportunity to participate in workshops, panel discussion and networking sessions focussed on topics such as healthy relationships, self-care, leadership and mental health and wellbeing. Guest speakers, including Dumfries and Galloway’s Chief Executive – Dawn Roberts, praised the young women for stepping forward, speaking out and shaping a brighter future for themselves and their peers.

The highlight of the weekend, was the unveiling of an exciting and ambitious three-year strategy for young women and girls’ empowerment, developed by young people in our region. The innovative strategy represents a comprehensive approach to addressing the unique challenges faced by young women and girls today, while harnessing their potential to drive positive change across our communities. It encompasses a wide range of projects and initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality, leadership and better access to opportunities in sport and the arts.

Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the council’s Communities Committee said: “I would like to congratulate the Young Women’s Network for their outstanding work in producing their new strategy and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on our communities over the next three years. I would urge everyone who can to get involved in this project, no matter your background, identity or interests – your voice matters for gender equality and helping to create a future where every young woman and girl has the opportunity to thrive, succeed and be treated with dignity and respect.”

Dumfries and Galloway’s delegates were joined by young women from Blackpool, Newport in Wales and Northern Ireland for the weekend, as part of a four-nations effort to highlight the importance of work with young women and girls, and the crucial role it plays in shaping their future opportunities, independence and overall well-being.

The Young Women’s Network, who are supported by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Youth Work Service, will work collaboratively with partners and stakeholders to implement the strategy and monitor it’s impact on the lives of young women and girls in our region.

Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice-Chair of Communities Committee said: “I had the honour of spending the day in the company of these amazing young women and can wholeheartedly say that their passion, knowledge and commitment is truly inspiring. I stand with them in their mission to create a safer, fairer and equal world where we can unlock the full potential of young women and girls.”

Alongside releasing their new plans, Dumfries and Galloway’s Young Women’s Network has put out a call to action, asking for individuals, businesses and organisations to come forward to pledge their support.

There are many ways you can get involved:

Partner – If you can contribute to the action plan, whether that is by raising awareness of something you are already doing, or something you will commit to do – they want to hear from you.

Volunteer – Do you have spare time and energy to give to the project? Whether it is a few hours per week or month, or you are able to assist occasionally at events, there are many different ways you can get involved, get in touch to find out more.

Campaigner – Stand beside Dumfries and Galloway’s Young Women’s Network and speak out on things that matter, help us to promote the project’s goals, raise awareness and attract attention to the cause.

To pledge your support or for more information, get in touch at: youth.work@dumgal.gov.uk