Girls from Falkirk schools including St Mungo’s High and Bo’ness Academy have been told their generation has the task of “stamping out inequality” in business and society.
The rallying-call message came from Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, keynote speaker at a launch event for a new nationwide contest.
The Growing Future Assets competition was launched by charity Future Asset at its biennial conference at the University of Strathclyde.
The aim is to introduce girls to asset management and widen access for future generations of women into the sector, and the winner of the contest - to be announced in June next year - will win a prize for their school.
Future Asset works to encourage high school girls in Scotland to consider careers in investment and finance.
The charity was set up to help schoolgirls consider their career options, taking their skills and interests into account as well as subject choices.
The contest is open to all girls in Scotland aged 16 to 18, and will see teams each of five girls pitch a variety of established businesses to a team of investors, assessing their business models, practices, sustainability and opportunities for growth.
During the six-month competition organisers and professionals from the asset management sector, including Bailie Gifford, Investec, Stewart Investors, Artemis and Cornelian, will work in partnership with teachers and pupils throughout the competition.
Jo Swinson told the launch event audience that young women need to move away from “group think” and realise that they can each make a difference in the world.
She said: “As a society, we are still working towards gender equality. The next generation will have a huge role to play in stamping out inequality in all areas of society – including in business.
“The challenge doesn’t fall solely at the feet of women and girls, though.
“Every single one of us has a role to play, and events like this one are an important part of the fight.”
Susan Anderson, chairwoman of the Future Asset Steering Group, said: “We want to give every schoolgirl in Scotland the chance to explore a career in asset management regardless of who they are or where they live.
“That’s why, with the support of our sponsors, we pay for travel and expenses for anyone travelling further than 20 miles. “It’s just one part of our commitment to reduce inequality in the field of asset management.”
Throughout the competition participants will be paired with Investment Mentors who currently work in the industry, who, alongside teachers, will support and motivate the girls.
For further information visit www.futureasset.org.uk