This has been a difficult year.
Aside from COVID-19’s threat to our health and economy, many have struggled with the isolation and reduced opportunities of life under lockdown.
But for some young women this lack of opportunity is a fact of life, and lockdown has been a relief from the stress of their normal lives. A qualitative survey of some of the least advantaged girls around the UK discovered that many found the lockdown earlier this year a respite from the stress and difficulties of school and normal life. Even where the girls were finding lockdown tough, they found it very similar to the isolation, restrictions and stress they dealt with in normal life.
These findings have driven a new campaign, Lockdown Life, by The Girls’ Network. The Girls’ Network connects the least advantaged girls in England with professional women mentors to help them access opportunities they would not otherwise have. It seeks to reduce the inequalities in professional outcomes between men and women, but also between privileged and underprivileged. These inequalities are getting worse as a result of the COVID crisis and action is needed to reverse this trend.
Speaking about the campaign, Charly Young, CEO of The Girls’ Network said, “We were heartened to see so many of the girls we work with remain positive during lockdown, but shocked by the parallels many drew between their normal lives and how other people felt under lockdown – isolated, restricted and anxious.”
“If young people feel like this we still have a lot to do as a society.”
“Mentoring offers girls a lifeline in difficult times and helps them discover their self-worth, but at a time like this we need more resources if we are to reach all of the girls who need it.”
The campaign highlights just how restricted many of these young women’s lives are and seeks to raise awareness and funds to help address this issue. The Girls’ Network aims to work with a thousand more girls across eight regions in the UK over the next year.
Why they do it: 50 per cent of girls from the poorest homes achieve no GCSEs above a D, just one sign of the restricted options and futures they face. The Girls’ Network believes that no girl’s future should be limited by her gender, ethnicity, background or parental income.
The impact: 96 per cent of girls on the programme say mentoring has improved their confidence and 98 per cent say they feel more positive about their future thanks to mentoring.
Why now: The COVID crisis has hit women, young people, and those from the least advantaged communities worst, so our work is needed now as much as ever.
How you can help
Just £10 could help build a girl’s confidence at a virtual workshop, £20 could help a girl gain employability skills at an in-person workshop, and £50 could pay for a girl to attend an exciting launch event to meet her mentor for the first time?
Every penny you donate will help The Girls’ Network empower more girls, bring more inspiring women on board as mentors, and create the leaders of the future.
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