COVID-19 Diaries: I’ve given myself some power back
Economically vulnerable young women are among the hardest hit by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. In the next installment in our series of blogs from young women on the coronavirus crisis, we hear from Georgia who shares her experience of meeting an MP and the power she felt getting her voice heard.
I applied for the Advisory Panel in the summer of last year after feeling unmotivated and lacking direction for my future. I have now been a member of the panel for nine months and have done things I never expected, thought was possible, or even thought I was capable of doing.
Before I joined the Advisory Panel I struggled with low self-confidence and dealt with mental health issues like anxiety and depression. I isolated myself and thought there was so much I couldn’t do. I signed up to the panel on a whim, not thinking there was a chance I would be selected... Fast forward to three months into my experience with Young Women’s Trust and there I was, speaking in Parliament about my experiences as a woman in the workplace, attending events and conferences that connected me with real life politicians for the first time, and meeting up with like-minded activists at least once a month to campaign, gain skills and just to have fun.
Meeting my MP
One of the best and most meaningful experiences I’ve had through Young Women’s Trust was taking part in a video call with MP Debbie Abrahams. Debbie is an MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, which is around the corner from me, and has a big interest in women’s rights and equality. I had followed Debbie’s work for some time and was impressed by her focus on gender equality, especially in the workplace, so the chance to speak to her one-on-one was unbelievable. I got to chat to Debbie about: my experience of being a young woman during the Covid-19 pandemic, the frustration over being furloughed from a new job that I loved and not knowing if I can return, the anxiety over taking pay-cuts on top of an already low income and the frustration at the lack of resources and support for mental health right now. I told her that I felt powerless, in a situation where the government are charging ahead with new policies and changes every day, where do we stand as young women? Where do we stand as some of the most vulnerable people in society?
Getting my Voice Heard
It was so validating getting my experiences heard by an MP. Especially Debbie, as she was so normal and real to talk to. It really felt like I was getting my voice heard as a young woman and felt like I was making a difference. The experience gave me back some power. I felt like I was contributing to a better future in these uncertain times. After our conversation, Debbie asked to support the No Young Woman Left Behind campaign that ensures vulnerable young women are being supported during the crisis.
Young Women’s Trust has allowed me to experience so many amazing opportunities that weren’t accessible to me before, like my video call with an MP. I’ve gained skills and understanding that has pushed me into a whole new direction. I’ve given myself some power back. There is nothing more powerful than sharing your experiences, and I hope this has inspired you to all get in touch with your MP's and share your own. Get your power.
Young women have been amongst those worst affected by the crisis. As lockdown begins to lift the government must take the opportunity to keep young women safe and financially secure.
We need your help to ensure that no young woman is left behind during the coronavirus crisis, will you join our campaign?