We must share our stories to challenge the status quo
International Women’s Day is the day of the year that women celebrate each other’s strengths and empower each other in the next step for gender equality. It’s the day where we herald the heroic, shout out for those that are making changes and give a hand of support to those that are in need.
Being a young woman in the world of work is tough. With multiple problems including low pay, lack of progression, sexual harassment and gender discrimination, it feels like the world of employment is stacked against you.
I am one of those women that felt I had nowhere to go in the working world. The moment I fell pregnant at the age of 19, I knew my employer would make it as hard for me as possible to return to work. Not only that, but doctors, university lecturers and even people on the street wanted to remind me how being a young mum was throwing my life away.
It wasn’t until I got in touch with the Young Women’s Trust that I realised I wasn’t alone. With 385,000 young women out of work, education or training, it’s shocking to think that times aren’t changing. The clear lack of support proves young women are being looked over for jobs and being held back from achieving a career.
For me, I spent 6 years in a low paid job. A job that whilst I loved, turned me over time and time again for promotions due to being a part time working mother. With lack of affordable childcare holding me back from working full time, and a definite lack of belief and support from my employer, I quit.
Three years ago when I got in touch with the Young Women’s Trust I was mentally broken. My confidence and self esteem were at an all time low, I didn’t believe I had a successful future in me and I didn’t know what I could achieve beyond being a mother. The Young Women’s Trust gave me the strength and confidence to believe in myself. It gave me the training and skills to take on whatever life threw at me, to know that I could take on a career and make a success of it.
It gave me a voice that I never knew I had, to be strong and help others. I’ve campaigned, told my story and let others know that they aren’t alone. With more that needs to be done to make work accessible for young women, it’s more important than ever to share stories and challenge law makers for change.
International Women’s Day is the day where we celebrate each other’s strengths and help each other through their weaknesses. For me, the support of an organisation like the Young Women’s Trust was truly life changing. The support from them made me realise that my dreams weren’t impossible, that I could really have the confidence to have a career and I had the voice to help others and shout for change. And for that I’m truly thankful.