Two Scottish businesswomen have launched a new mentoring drive to address a long-standing “lack of support” for young women starting out in their careers.
Girl Gang Scotland is designed to provide a support network for women in further education as well as female secondary school pupils, allowing them to “unlock their individual potential”.
The venture hopes to bring leading businesswomen directly into the country’s classrooms and lecture theatres in order to provide “messages of inspiration and awareness”.
The initiative is the brainchild of Anne Marie McElroy and Sarah Scott, who have carved out successful careers in the hair and beauty industry.
They said they had benefited from mentors in the past, but felt that young women in other fields were denied similar opportunities.
Girl Gang Scotland, they said, planned to create a movement that would help young women prosper as they enter the workplace.
Ms McElroy, who runs AMM Hair and Make up Team, a booking and training agency for high-end luxury weddings, said: “Our primary aim is to create a movement with the most talented and respected creatives and professionals in Scotland, teaching young girls that they can become anything they wish to be with our support and access to inspiring women. We are creating a community and will hold events giving young girls the opportunities to listen and learn from successful Scottish women, so they can hopefully realise that nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself and have the drive to follow your aspirations in your career.”
Ms McElroy, 41, from Wishaw, said the fledgling mentor network had already enlisted the help of a series of successful Scottish businesswomen as well as doctors, dentists, models and athletes.
Ms Scott said: “We want to change the way young people think about careers and their future as it can be a very daunting time.”
“The amount of support we have received in such a short period speaks volumes about the lack of support for these young women in Scotland.”
The 28-year-old, an award-winning hair stylist colourist and salon owner, added: “We think more could be done at school level to encourage more young women to realise their career potential. It’s not just about being academic. A lot of young women have fantastic skill sets.”
The two women are now looking for schools and colleges to team up with in order to stage mentoring events, but say they are confident the enthusiasm with which their idea has been greeted so far is a positive sign.
“We would love support in getting our message out and help in finding locations to hold our events and linking us with schools and colleges,” Ms Scott said. “In fact, we already have a lot of support from them, which is really encouraging.”