Hannah Wooldrage: Why I can’t wait to make change

Hannah Wooldrage, 15, a member of the Senior Section from Orkney, took part in Action for Change, an innovative new project empowering girls and young women to use their voice and make the change they want to see.

Hannah says: “Campaigning isn’t something I’ve ever really done before and I arrived at the first ever Action for Change Inspiration Weekend feeling a little unsure of what to expect. But it was fantastic to meet so many girls from all over Scotland who were passionate about making change.

Whether they wanted to speak out against gender stereotypes, tackle the stigma around mental health or encourage more girls and women to get into science and technology – I was inspired to meet so many girls my own age who wanted to make their voice heard and make a real difference.

Of course trying to make change is a big task and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. But over the weekend we heard from campaigners like Talat Yaqoob, of the Women 50:50 campaign and Stevie Wise, who started the Sexist Surcharge petition. They explained that by breaking down a big problem and finding one small thing you can change, it is possible to have a big impact.

I’m passionate about tackling bullying because I’ve seen the effect it can have. As a girl I know how tough it can be. Girlguiding’s recent Girl’s Attitude Survey found that 25 per cent of girls age 7-10 have experienced someone making mean or hurtful comments about the way they look, and this shoots up to over 60 per cent for girls age 11-21.

Whether online or offline, I know bullying can have a big impact on someone’s every day life. I hope my Action for Change project will help young people experiencing bullying to know that they’re not alone, feel empowered to ask for help,  and confident about speaking out. I know that sometimes it’s the people who stay the quietest who can most benefit from making their voices heard.

That’s why I’m so excited to be part of a project that is all about empowering girls to use their voice. Many of us have probably never thought about campaigning before. We might have been passionate about an issue but unsure of where to start.

Action for Change has given us the the skills and confidence to get started. Now it’s our turn to put our ideas into action.