Girlguiding Advocates are really excited to be part of the Fair Education Alliance where we hope we can work together toaddress the gendered inequality girls’ face in education and ensure all young people have equal opportunities at school and beyond.
Who we are
Girlguiding Advocates are a group of 18 Girlguiding members aged 14 to 25 lead the direction of Girlguiding's advocacy and research. The panel gives girls a platform to use their voices and seek change at the highest levels.
Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK. We empower nearly half a million girls across the UK to be their best and face the challenges of growing up today. We do this through adventure, friendship and fun and support girls to develop valuable life skills and confidence to pursue their aspirations. Girlguiding offers girls and young women a girl-only space where they are free to be themselves in a pressure-free environment. From the science badge to abseiling, we offer something for every girl and encourage girls to try new things and to believe in themselves. Our Peer Education programme helps girls to discuss important issues affecting them and we recently launched the ‘Think Resilient’ resource to help to build girls resilience to the pressures they face and maintain their well-being. But we also challenge the issues that negatively affect girls’ wellbeing from appearance pressures to sexual harassment.
What’s the problem
With the multitude of pressures faced by girls and young women today, it’s unsurprising that only 35% of girls aged 11-21 say they feel confident in themselves most of the time. Girls’ wellbeing is in decline and societal pressures impact our education. It is clear that the pressure to look flawless infiltrates the classroom with 36% of girls aged 11-21 saying that fear people will criticise their body stops girls from speaking up in class. Girls deserve to be valued based on their abilities, not the way they look. To focus on the amazing things women are doing, not the clothes they wear. By removing this pressure, girls will be able to focus on their studies, participate in classes without fear and, most importantly, feel more confident in themselves.
Sexual harassment in schools also has a hugely detrimental effect on girls’ education. 75% of girls and young women aged 11 to 21 say anxiety about potentially experiencing sexual harassment affects their lives in some way - including a quarter who say it prevents them from speaking up in class. This issue can’t be ignored any longer. School should be a safe place where girls can prosper. How can we expect them to fulfil their potential if they are sexualised and objectified on a daily basis?
The change we want
That’s why the Girlguiding’s Advocate Panel is campaigning to end sexual harassment in schools, which we believe will greatly improve the emotional wellbeing of girls and support them to aim high and achieve their dreams. 90% girls aged 13 to 21 agree that the government should make sure all schools are addressing sexual harassment, demonstrating the clear need for change. You can support our campaign by signing and sharing our petition, and by joining the conversation on twitter (tagging @Girlguiding and using #SexualHarassmentInSchools). We are also taking forward our Girls Matter campaign which is the result of consulting with over 2,500 of our young members on what is important to them which ask government to:
demand schools take a zero-tolerance approach to sexual bullying and harassment
call on all school to teach body confidence and gender equality
- modernise relationship and sex education so all young people can make informed decisions and stay safe.
We look forward to discussing these issues with the alliance and to making the changes needed for all young people’s lives.