Girlguiding – Girls Matter

Girls and young women across the UK are faced by countless challenges on a daily basis. As members of Girlguiding’s youth panel, Advocate, we have decided that it is time to do something about this. That’s why we launched the Girls Matter campaign last September – a list of eight key changes that we want politicians to make. This includes modernising sex and relationships education and guaranteeing that women have equal representation in Parliament. We’ve had some brilliant positive responses from politicians so far but our work is far from done.

We recently published a brand new Girlguiding Girls’ Attitudes. We found (very unsurprisingly) that sexism is still a really big part of girls’ lives. In fact, 85% of girls aged 11-21 said they experience sexism in some aspect of their lives. This is just one reason why our Girls Matter campaign is so important. Girls are being let down in too many areas! The pressure is immense. For example, three quarters of girls aged 11-21 think there are too many images of naked or nearly naked women in the media. This links to other problems, like appearance pressures, violence against women and girls and mental health issues, including eating disorders. It’s time we really begin to tackle girls’ concerns. Girls Matter is the start.


Hannah says: Sometimes being a girl gets a little bit frustrating. All over the world girls face inequality almost every day of their lives. Our campaign is based on research on girls’ and young women’s views across the UK – our calls for change are based on concerns girls in and outside of Guiding have expressed to us. A couple of months ago I began emailing MPs and MSPs. One described her shock at some of our statistics and was extremely supportive in her email – which I have now framed like the politics geek I am!


Ashvini RaeAshvini says: So why are these changes so important? Well, call me idealistic but I believe that men and women should be treated equally. This is the main reason that I support the Girls Matter campaign. It is so important that girls and young women are empowered to speak out and that politicians listen to us. As a Girlguiding Advocate I’ve loved talking about the Girls Matter campaign and everything that Girlguiding stands for and represents. So far this has involved a lot of tweeting, contacting local politicians and being interviewed by Everyday Sexism’s Laura Bates for the Guardian. The interview was an amazing experience. It’s a pleasure working on the campaign and I’m excited about a future in which Girls Matter!


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