Over the years I’ve had a few ups and downs with the Girl Guides. Back in 1980 Guide representatives on the Youth Advisory Committee in Wigan voted to have me disciplined for my part in encouraging a ‘bolshie’ Youth Council. However, through the 1990’s, during my time as the Chief Youth Officer in the same borough the Guide Commissioners, especially Edith Smith, who was also the Director of Education’s secretary, were incredibly supportive, both of myself and the flourishing Girls’ Work of the time. Thus it is more than appropriate to welcome warmly a new initiative from Girlguiding, ‘Girls Matter : Our Calls for Change’.
Chief Guide Gill and Chief Exec Julie explain in their blog,
Why are we calling for change?
We passionately believe that girls and young women can be a powerful force for good and as the largest charity for girls and young women in the UK it is our responsibility to make sure their voices get heard. That’s why we are committed to finding out what really matters to girls and young women today and to responding to what they say.
The findings of our annual Girls’ Attitudes Survey – that canvasses the views of over 1,200 girls and young women both within and beyond Girlguiding’s membership – are often sobering. What we hear is that they face a perfect storm of pressures: from everyday sexism, sexual harassment and violence, to intense scrutiny of their appearance, double standards and a shortage of role models. This can’t be right.
In 2014 we explored these findings in more depth by consulting over 2,400 of our young members aged 7 to 25. And we took it further by asking them what they wanted to see change. The result is Girls Matter – a call for change, directly from girls and young women to the decision-makers of the next government.
What do we want?
Girls Matter proposes eight solutions that girls and young women, and Girlguiding, believe will help to tackle the challenges they face and eliminate barriers that hold them back and limit their aspirations. Meet our current Advocates here.
The General Election in May 2015 is a vital moment for politicians to really listen to girls and to prove that things can change. Every quote in our report comes from the girls we consulted and members of Advocate, our youth panel. It’s a good place to start to hear about what it’s like being a girl today and why our calls for change can make a real difference.
So we’re asking everyone who believes in girls to check out the report, watch this short film and challenge their MP to prove that they do too.
Read the report and the eight proposals in full – GIRLS MATTER : OUR CALLS FOR CHANGE
The solutions include: