A lifetime ago I was a Brownie and then a Girl Guide, and I loved it.
I’ve spoken before about never quite feeling like I fit in, but this was one of the areas of my life where I did. I wasn’t an outsider looking in, I was right in the thick of it. This wasn’t because I was a naturally sociable child, nor was I confident, or any other of those traits that normally propel you straight into a group. It was because it was a space in which all talents, all interests, and all personalities could be at home. A space where everyone was valued and nurtured.
Guiding was wonderful for me, I was encouraged to try new things, to be brave and take chances. I was taught that you didn’t need to be perfect at something to enjoy it.
I was very lucky, and I don’t know how much of it was good leaders and how much was Guiding in itself, but I suspect the latter played a large part.
We did all sorts in Brownies and Guides, and I don’t recall it being heavily gendered, if we did activities which were traditionally for girls we did them for the joy of doing them, not because it was “the done thing”.
Guiding can be a wonderful way to teach girls they have so much to give, that their worth isn’t dictated by their appearance or how well the conform to a gender. It’s a wonderful thing and I am proud to lend my voice to #GirlsMatter.
I couldn’t agree more with the 8 changes they ask for, and I’m so glad to see young girls fighting for their needs.
Their 8 Calls for Change
- Listen to girls and young women, take them seriously and make sure their voices count
- Demand that schools take a zero-tolerance approach to sexual bullying and harassment
- Call on all schools to teach body confidence and gender equality
- Make girls’ rights a priority in the UK’ s approach to international development
- Stop children’ s exposure to harmful sexualised content in mainstream media
- Empower girls and young women to speak out and be heard on the impact of media sexism and stereotyping
- Modernise Sex and Relationships Education so all young people can make informed decisions and stay safe
- Guarantee that women will be equally represented in Parliament
I pledged support here and hope 2015 sees them make some real strides.