SCOUTING FOR EQUALITY
According to research by UK charity Girlguiding, 70% of 11-21 year old girls say sexism is so widespread it affects most areas of their lives. As a response, Girlguiding has launched its first awareness campaign, #ForTheGirl, to challenge outdated perceptions of women and of the charity’s own work.
Girlguiding, established as the Guide Association in 1909, was formed by girls who challenged the notion that scouting was ‘just for boys.’ During World Wars I and II, members grew food, acted as messengers and worked in hospitals, factories and soup kitchens.
The campaign film, produced with youth marketing agency Livity, targets women aged 25-34 as a key demographic for future volunteers and parents of girls who might join the charity. By showing a series of everyday scenarios where girls and women are faced with negative commentary, voiced by familiar media personalities, the film highlights challenges women face regarding their perceived identity and role in society. These scenarios include an engineer whose daughter tells her, in a male’s voice, that men and women will never be equal and a skateboarder whose male peer tells her that women couldn’t handle equal treatment if they got it.
Though these kinds of daily exposures are often subtle and overlooked, they can gradually chip away at girls' self esteem and confidence, disempowering them as they grow older. The film brings awareness to this issue and reminds girls that they don’t have to accept these inequalities, concluding with a line spoken by another young skateboarder saying, “We don’t have to listen to that, you know.” By showing how girls can positively influence the world around them, the campaign shows how Girlguiding equips girls to stand strong in light of these challenges, giving each girl ‘confidence today to become a stronger woman tomorrow.’
Girlguiding’s communications director, Becky Hewitt, says, “We know that some people still have outdated misconceptions about Girlguiding. This campaign is about challenging those perceptions, celebrating our commitment to empowering girls, and shining a light on the modern, diverse and exciting charity that we are today.”
Today, the charity has 550,000 members and the support of 100,000 volunteers and continues to empower women through education programmes and campaigns advocating to improve women’s lives.