Nicola Sturgeon has offered to mentor a young woman for a year in a drive to inspire more female leaders.
Women aged 18-23 in Scotland can take part in the Young Scot competition to win the chance to be mentored by the First Minister.
Ms Sturgeon urged women in leadership roles to follow her example and become mentors to help develop future leaders and increase gender balance.
Speaking on diversity at an event in Edinburgh, she said: “Equality for women is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s vision for an equal Scotland.
“My ambition for all our young people is that they will have a fair chance to succeed, and if they work hard and have the ability, there’s nothing to stop them realising their dreams.
“It is not acceptable in 2017 for women to be under-represented in senior positions, including in the boardroom.
“That is why our Programme for Government contains ambitious commitments in support of women’s equality, including legislating for gender balance on public sector boards, creating a new Advisory Council on Women and Girls and piloting a returners project.
“One of my first actions on becoming First Minister was to appoint a gender-balanced Cabinet. Since then, through initiatives such as 50/50 by 2020 and the Scottish Business Pledge, more than 300 businesses in Scotland have committed to achieve gender equality on their boards - and for the first time ever more than half of public sector board appointees are women.
“As well as this, I’m determined to play my personal part by becoming a mentor and I would urge other women in leadership roles to do the same. Together, we can be female role models for the next generation and encourage and empower young women to discover their own leadership potential.”
Louise Macdonald, chief executive of Young Scot, said: “We’re delighted to support the First Minister and the Scottish Government with this new mentoring programme and we are encouraging as many young women from across Scotland as possible to apply for this amazing opportunity.”