Building skills and confidence
Research shows on average, women have less income; less access to resources; fewer assets and less financial independence than men. As well as on a global scale, this situation exists in Scotland too.
WFS seeks to fund organisations where women are supported to –
- build confidence and awareness in their current skills.
- learn new skills and develop those they have currently.
- plan to return to the workplace and / or consider applying for work.
World Health Organisation research shows that girls have consistently lower confidence than boys. This impacts on physical and mental health and well-being, as well as having social and economic impacts across the life cycle as a result of fewer opportunities.
Building confidence from early years supports girls to grow up challenging the social norms and stereotypes which hinder personal growth as well as career options and life choices. Working to build confidence in girls enables them to believe in themselves and their abilities in order to move forward in their lives and reach their full potential.
Improving health and wellbeing
Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from anxiety, and one in four women will require treatment for depression at some point in their life. Women generally spend more time experiencing ill-health then men. In Scotland, a woman who lives in an affluent area can live up to 7.5 years longer than a woman who comes from a most deprived area.
Both biological and gender-related differences have a significant impact on health, and tackling health inequalities is Scotland is a key concern. Women have distinct needs for health services throughout their lives. Improving a women’s health (both mental and physical) and general well-being makes women feel better about themselves, thus having an impact on areas such as self-esteem, confidence, energy levels, concentration etc. – ultimately improving their lives both professionally and personally.
Moving on from abuse
Estimates suggest that 1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. In 2018-19, 60,641 incidents of domestic abuse were recorded by the police in Scotland. Where information about sex was recorded, 82% of recorded incidents had a female victim and a male perpetrator.
Different forms of domestic abuse include physical, psychological, and financial abuse. Such abuse is both a cause and a consequence of wider gender inequality in society.
One of the impacts of abuse, such as coercive and controlling behaviour, is the loss of confidence and self-esteem. Women and children experiencing abuse can become very isolated and find it hard to get back to a more normal and stable life after leaving an abusive relationship. By supporting organisations that work with families moving on from violence, WFS helps to support women and children recovering from trauma and empowers them to move forward.
Growing Social Connections
Bringing girls and women together creates peer support systems which are essential to help them cope, sometimes with difficult life circumstances. Growing social connections can also improve mental well-being and be a support when moving on from a number of circumstances including, for example, violence and abuse.
In Scotland, single parent families are 29% of families, with over half living in poverty. 95% of single parents are mothers. Having a social network for women to turn to can make them feel less lonely and isolated. Also, being with others with similar life and social experiences can provide a valuable support in a variety of situations including in recovery and moving on from difficult circumstances and trauma. Being part of a peer network can enable women and families to move on safely and quicker.
Developing Leadership and Innovation
WFS seeks to encourage women and girls into a variety of leadership roles across society. This is an effective way to achieve long-lasting systemic change in Scotland as by encouraging women and girls to consider leadership roles we can help ensure that diversity benefits all. Recent research in Scotland highlighted that young women felt that leadership roles often seemed unattainable with the young women taking part stating they felt a need for more opportunities to engage and even to get involved in meaningful discussions about social and political issues at school.
In terms of leadership roles, national and international research shows that companies with women on their boards outperform companies with all-male boards and that diversity among board members – in terms of sex, race, age, and disability status – is of increasing importance, and interest, to boards.
In employment in Scotland, there is a lack of women in senior positions in certain sectors. For example, the majority of the workforce in Scotland’s voluntary sector is made up of women. However, women are under-represented at senior management and Chief Executive level. Where women are chief executives in the voluntary sector, they are less likely to be employed by large well-funded organisations, and therefor likely to be paid less than their male counterparts.
Our investment themes are not static and will change to meet the need identified in Scotland.