We each need to ask ourselves, as youth workers, whether we see ourselves as leaders. How can we teach leadership if we cannot model it?

Youth workers may not see themselves as ‘big bosses’ but we are leaders. We are leading activities for young people and we have an opportunity to show them that women can be leaders.

How we treat each other within youth organisations

One of the ways that we achieve this is through the way we treat other youth workers, and other colleagues, whether staff or volunteers. Do we model empowerment and show girls and young women how they should expect to be treated?

We know that many of the young women and girls we work with cannot identify mistreatment, as they have experienced this, and witnessed it, for much of their lives.

If we want young women to see a good workplace, we must also model this respectful behaviour to those we work alongside.

We must also consider other characteristics, other than being female, that can lead to them feeling less or being treated as less. The key things we saw were race, ethnicity, and social background. We must be incredibly sensitive to this in our work, treating other youth workers as equals, regardless of their backgrounds, so that the young women we work with can see respect for someone like them modelled.

Reflection Questions 

  • When you were the age of the girls you work with, did you have any examples of women from your background to look up to as a leader? 
  • Do you think you model leadership in the way you behave towards others? 
  • Do you see yourself as a leader? 
  • What leadership qualities do you think you have?

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