Young Glasgow woman attends major conference on violence against women organised by Shadow Home Secretary

A young Girlguiding member from Glasgow has had the chance to attend a major conference to discuss violence against women in her position as a member of the charity’s Advocate panel.

The conference – organised by Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Home Secretary – was a chance for Amy Callaghan, 16, to speak out about everyday sexism, discrimination and pressures that affect girls.

Other attendees at the event, held at the UNISON Centre in London on Monday 7 July 2014, included the founder of the Everyday Sexism project Laura Bates, activist Caroline Criado Perez and No More Page 3 founder Lucy Holmes.

As a Girlguiding Advocate, Amy – who lives in Broomhill and is a Young Leader with the 47th A City of Glasgow Brownies – discusses issues that affect her and other young women and seeks UK-wide change. Advocates also play a major role in Girlguiding’s advocacy work and Girls’ Attitudes Survey research.

Amy, who is also a member of the North West Division Senior Section, said: “The part of the conference that made the biggest impression on me was when we heard stories of victims of sexual abuse and violence.

“Hearing the stories from the victims themselves was incredibly moving and really made it clear why we need to focus on women’s safety in the future.

“I chose to go to the conference because the statistics for violence against women and girls are shocking, and it’s an issue that affects or will affect the majority of women at some point, in one way or another.

“It’s important that any future government has these issues in mind and creates new legislation and policies to improve the lives of women.”

In 2013, Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey found that 75 per cent of girls and young women feel that sexism is so widespread that it affects most areas of their lives. Fifty-one per cent of girls aged 13-21 have been subjected to sexual jokes or taunts at school or college, and 40 per cent have also had unkind things said about them online.