A BEAUTY pageant for young girls aged as young as six is to take place in Glasgow despite increasing concern among family campaigners over the sexualisation of childhood in modern society.

Miss Little Scotland, which is aimed at six to 12-year-olds, will take place at a city hotel. The winner of the black-tie event will go on an expenses-paid trip to Euro Disney in Paris, where she will take part in a "Face of the World" contest.

A one-year modelling contract, through the organisers ModelScotland, is also available if the winner wants it.

It comes at a time when many family experts and politicians have expressed concern about the dangers of young girls becoming fixated on their body image.

However, Angel Dairo, the organiser of the event, described it as completely different from American children's beauty pageants, which have become the subject of controversy over pre-pubertal children parodying adult allure complete with padded bras and hair extensions.

"We have very strict rules. There are no flesh-revealing clothes, no lipstick, false eyelashes or fake nails," she said. However, the girls are made up with lip gloss, blusher and powder.

The 15 finalists have been chosen from 200 applicants. Ms Dairo interviewed a shortlist of 80, chosen from their photographs. "It was clear that some children did not want to do it but were pushed into it by their mothers, so those are immediately rejected," she said. "This is not about exploitation. I have had several approaches to link up with American beauty pageants but have refused them all."

Emphasising that girls of all shapes and sizes would take part, Ms Dairo said they would wear a T-shirt and tartan skirt for the first round in which they introduce themselves to the audience but would also be judged on a talent, such as singing, dancing, reading a poem or drawing. Other rounds of the competition require them to wear traditional dress and (non-revealing) ball gowns.

Before the final they are also encouraged raise money for one of 11 charities, which include the NSPCC, The Children's Society and Yorkhill Children's Foundation. The girl who raises the most will be crowned "Miss Charity". The charities chosen for the fundraising competition were unaware it was taking place. An NSPCC spokesman said they had received a donation of £100. "The money was raised by the children for a dance they took part in and they chose to give it to the NSPCC, and several other charities, via a parent. Although we don't promote or endorse child beauty contests we felt it would be churlish not to accept the kind donation from the children in this case."

A report by the Children's Society, A Good Childhood, says "excessive individualism is causing a range of problems for children including high family break-up, teenage unkindness and commercial pressures towards premature sexualisation".

They declined to comment on this sort of competition for young girls, saying they had done no research on beauty pageants.

Emma Moore, co-founder of Pinkstinks, a campaign against gender stereotyping of toys and clothes for young children, had no doubts that children's beauty pageants are harmful: "They give the wrong message to girls and boys about what it is to be a girl. The main driver for holding these beauty pageants is making a profit". She added: "They are selling a ridiculous notion of beauty to little girls. I cannot imagine what possesses any parent to enter a child to a competition which is likely to kick-start body hatred, when they have a whole lifetime ahead of them."

Although the pageant, taking place on June 15, is described as "not a modelling competition" it is organised through ModelScotland, co-founded by Ms Dairo, a former Miss Black UK.

She said: "Becoming a beauty queen opened doors for me."