by Alison Fraser, Winner of the SWC Young Woman’s Achievement Award
At the STUC’s Youth Conference in June, this year, I was lucky enough to receive the Scottish Women’s Convention’s Young Woman’s Achievement Award.
This award was launched at the STUC Youth Conference 2012 by Agnes Tolmie. It was introduced so that young women’s achievements could be recognised by others – as well as themselves – with the winner receiving an all expenses paid experience relevant to them e.g. a trip to the European Parliament.
I won the award for my contributions and advancements to young women. Before winning I never thought of everything I’d done as achievements. I saw them as what had to be done to get the voice of young women heard not only by policy makers, but society itself. Many people today do not listen to young people or value what they say. However, I made sure people listened to me and took on board my concerns.
The biggest achievement I have to date was speaking in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament in front of 380 women as part of the SWC’s International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations in 2008. And through winning this award I am no longer shy and embarrassed to tell people of that amazing opportunity (I was 13 year old at the time). I am also very honoured to be asked back to speak at IWD 14.
It’s hard to put into words what this award means to me. I have gained a lot more confidence in myself and have started looking at different things I am doing as achievements. For example, I have self funded, during the past two years, to attend Commission on the Status of Women Conference in New York City with the SWC. I have attended the UK Ambassadors reception, made contact with women from many different backgrounds all around the world and this year I had someone recognise me from the work I have done with the SWC. Even now I’m writing all this it doesn’t seem real, it doesn’t feel like I have actually had all these amazing experiences. So through winning this award I have even surprised myself with things that I have done in 6 years.
I still volunteer as much as possible with the SWC trying to fit in around University and part-time work! Although I can’t do as much as I used to do, I still love the satisfaction I get when I have helped out at an event, at a stall or by going to an event on behalf of the SWC. I feel that I have contributed just a little bit more to the women’s movement and that I am getting the voice of young women recognised.
I would most definitely encourage you to nominate any young women you know for this award. Whether it is a one off achievement or it is an ongoing- this award can show them that what they’re doing is appreciated.
* If you know of a young woman (under the age of 25) who you believe would benefit from being nominated for this award, please click here for the application form. The closing date for this year’s nominations is 31st March 2014.