5 Girl Scouts Projects Around the World That Empower Girls and Women

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts mission is to enable girls and young women to develop their full potential as world citizens.

Jan 2, 2019

(Procyk Radek / Shutterstock.com)

One of the idyllic parts of childhood is belonging to a scout troop. The camaraderie, fun events, learning new skills, and collecting badges are known to produce well rounded young men. But scouting is even more important for girls.

Girls are taught from a young age different social codes from boys. While both want to grow up to be leaders according to Girl Talk HQ, by the time they reach high school the number of girls with high aspirations drops off because of a lack the self-confidence. The scouting experience teaches exactly the opposite.

The girl's movement began in 1910 after a group of girls wanted to join a boy scout rally at Crystal Palace in London and were denied. This didn't faze them in the least; they demanded a movement for girls and Girl Guides was established the next year.

This was the first case of advocacy by girls for girls concerns and laid the foundation for over a hundred years of social action by girls and young women according to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

Today, there are 10 million girls and young women scouts in 150 countries worldwide. Advocacy plays a crucial role in WAGGGS mission to enable girls and young women to develop their full potential as world citizens and to be prepared to speak out and take action against injustice.

WAGGGS created a toolkit for member organizations to develop the advocacy role for their girls so they can influence the world's leaders to improve the lives of girls and woman around the globe.

Here are some of the programs that scouts work on to empower girls and women worldwide.

1. The Girl Guides in the UK

The Girl Guides in the UK, almost a half million strong, develop skills and the confidence they need to become the people they want to be. Girl Guides are encouraged to speak out about the issues that matter to them and to do social action through peer education, fundraising, volunteering, community action and to use their voices to advocate for change.

The issue that the guides are tackling is to end period poverty in the UK and to tackle the stigma and shame connected to periods. One in ten girls in the UK miss school because of their periods. The products can be provided but changing centuries-old taboos about menstruation will be harder to change. The guides have worked with WaterAid to develop activities to get young women to discuss periods in their groups and bring this part of womanhood out into the open.

The groups are also collecting sanitary products to be donated to local food banks so that no girl will have to miss school because she cannot afford to buy what she needs.

(Elena Rostunova / Shutterstock.com)

2. Girl Guides of Australia

Girl Guides of Australia is building on a 100-year tradition of mentoring girls to harness their individual potential to make a difference in the world. There are over 30,000 girl guides in Australia.

 

In 2015, the Girl Guides developed a statement on their priorities for girls and women that supports the UN Fourth World Conference on Women Beijing Declaration. The girl guides priority areas for action are: to address violence against women and girls; to address the human rights of girls and women and to address the discrimination that is unique to the girl child. This statement is the blueprint for the actions Girl Guides will take to be part of the solution to these issues.

(Girl Guides Australia)

3. Girl Guides in Zimbabwe

Scouting is big in Africa and the region consists of over 1 million girls and young women in 33-member organizations. The members work with the youth on important issues that include girl's rights and education.

The "Yes! Girl's Campaign was launched in eight African countries. It consists of the message that empowered girls can do wonders and be responsible citizens of the world. The Girl Guides in Zimbabwe are stressing that Yes! Girls can lead tomorrow and change the world.

"We have selected this amazing theme because we want to empower girls with leadership skills, boost their confidence and provide them with a platform to speak out on issues related that affect them," said Gorreth Maria –one of the YESS Participants spearheading the campaign that was in the WAGGGS report.

(World Association of Girls Guides and Girl Scouts)

4. Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts was founded in 1912 with the goal of providing girls with a place to find friendship, empowerment, and leadership. It has been tremendously successful because more than 59 million women today were Girl Scouts and there are currently 1.8 girl members today.

Today, Girl Scouts of all ages strive to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader). The scouts learn leadership and civic responsibility throughout their scouting experiences and it has worked according to an article in the Korey Howell Photography Group. "Fifteen of our 20 current female Senators and half of the 88 women who serve in the US House of Representatives were Girl Scouts. Attorney and former First Lady Michelle Obama was a Girl Scout, as was former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and retired Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor."

One of the ways to empower girls to be all that can be is through an increased focus on the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, and applied mathematics) fields of study. They are being exposed to many different fields of study that girls were usually off-limits to girls.

(barbsimages / Shutterstock.com)

5. Girl Guides of Canada

Over 96 thousand girls that belong to Girl Guides of Canada learn about global and cultural awareness, STEAM, the environmental, and important issues like bullying, self-esteem and body image. The girls and young women develop the skills they need to speak out and act on the issues that are important to them.

The Girl EmPower Challenge teaches Brownies, Guides and Pathfinders about healthy, equal, non-violent relationships by using age-appropriate activities according to the website. The girls will be empowered to form healthy, equitable relationships in their own lives because they will be educated to understand the signs if unhealthy relationships. The girls who complete the course will receive the Girl EmPower Badge.

(Girl Guides of Canada via Flickr)

BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.