Use your power to make change

By Claire Reindorp, Young Women's Trust • 8 March 2022

This International Women’s Day, our CEO, Claire Reindorp, writes about the barriers young women face and how we can all support young women to help build a fairer future.

Young women have been facing a barrage of pressures in recent years, with many juggling childcare and soaring living costs throughout a pandemic, alongside stagnant wages and benefits. Covid risks turning the clock back on gender inequality.

When I tell people about the pay gap for young women, they are shocked: it’s hard to believe that on average women aged 18 to 29 are earning at least 20% less per year than their male peers. In a recent survey, 37% of young women told us they have taken on new or additional debt as a result of being unemployed. This increases to almost half (49%) amongst those who have caring responsibilities.

In the same way that the #MeToo movement has galvanised communities to challenge the violence and harassment faced by women, we need to raise the profile of the financial penalty young women face. It’s a burning injustice that needs focused action from all of us.

But change is possible. At Young Women’s Trust, we aim to unlock young women’s potential, build equal workplaces and a fairer future. We want to ensure that young women’s voices, so often ignored or unheard, are amplified and championed. And we know there are many people working as allies to make this happen.

When people in power stand up for young women and help create change it makes us feel valued. It reminds us that we are not invisible.

Young women taking part in allyship project

To the young women we asked, allyship means taking action, like mentoring the young women in your workplace, supporting them to have conversations about pay and promotions and speaking up when you see sexist behaviour.

Everyone has the power to make a difference in a small way. It could be in your own home, at work or in the community. We hope you will use your power to make change, no matter how big or small.

Young women taking part in allyship project

This International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate everyone working to make equality a reality for young women, day in and day out.

At Young Women’s Trust, we have ambitious plans for the future. We want to grow our support services, conduct more peer-led research to shine a spotlight on the realities of young women’s lives and campaign for change. Can you help us grow our influence and lift up young women’s voices?