Equality and diversity policy

Our policy on including everyone - whatever their faith, race, culture, nationality or sexual orientation

Approved: 1 June 2023
Version: 2.1

We want to build an equal world where all girls can make a positive difference, be happy and safe, and reach their potential.

We want everyone involved in Girlguiding to have a great experience, whoever they are and wherever they’re from. 

Find out more about our ambition for diversity and inclusion, our journey so far and our plans.

This policy applies to all Girlguiding volunteers, members and staff.

  • Characteristics parts of someone’s identity. The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because of some characteristics. These are known as protected characteristics.  
  • Identity – how people see and think about themselves and others. People often use characteristics to describe identity, like gender race or sexual orientation.  
  • Diversity – making sure people with lots of different characteristics, backgrounds, identities and circumstances are represented.  
  • Equality – giving everyone the same resources or opportunities. 
  • Equity – treating someone fairly by considering what they personally need to have the same opportunities as others. Everyone has different circumstances. This means we sometimes need to treat people differently to give them the same opportunities.  
  • Inclusion making sure everyone feels welcomed, accepted and valued. 
  • Staff anyone employed by Girlguiding at any of our sites.

Policy statement

We’re here to support all girls and young women, helping them to develop and fulfil their potential. A big part of that is making sure we include everyone. We value and celebrate different experiences and characteristics. We want every girl to have the chance to do amazing things, whoever they are and wherever they’re from.

Our commitment for equality, diversity and inclusion is to be a place where everyone is welcome, free to be themselves, and has an equal sense of belonging.

Equity is really important to our approach. This means recognising that everyone is different – so giving people the same opportunities will sometimes mean treating them differently. We expect everybody in Girlguiding to be treated fairly, and to treat others fairly, and keep equity in mind. For example, by providing a training document in large print for a volunteer with a visual impairment, you’re treating the volunteer differently to give them equal and fair access to opportunities.

All our volunteers can access our including all training. This gives practical advice for doing the small things that make a big difference to making Girlguiding a more welcoming and inclusive place.

Our expectations

We expect everyone in Girlguiding to:

  • Treat everyone in Girlguiding with dignity and respect.
  • Never discriminate on the basis of any characteristic protected by this policy.
  • Provide a warm, friendly environment for everyone you guide or work with at Girlguiding.
  • Make Girlguiding a welcoming and inclusive environment for all, by recognising differences and making reasonable adjustments where appropriate.
  • Recognise and respond to policy breaches, in line with the procedure.

  • Age (18+). If a volunteer or staff member has the right skills and abilities for a role, they mustn’t be overlooked because of their age. You can find more information about this in our membership policy, volunteer recruitment and vetting policy and on our unit guiding and sections webpage.
  • Caring responsibilities. No one should face discrimination because they have caring responsibilities, including caring for a disabled person, older person or children. Take a look at our advice on how to help include carers and young carers.
  • Children in care. Young members mustn’t face discrimination because they are, or have been, in care of a local authority. Read our advice on how to include children in care.
  • Disability. We’re committed to making reasonable adjustments to support disabled volunteers, members, and staff members to have the same opportunities and experiences as anyone else. All disabled young members should be able to enjoy the same broad and balanced programme and experiences as other girls. Find out more on our including disabled members webpage.
  • Gender reassignment. This is a protected characteristic that refers to trans people (people whose gender doesn't correspond to their birth sex). A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if they are proposing to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone a process or part of a process to reassign their gender. Gender reassignment is a personal process rather than a medical one. We’re proud to be a trans inclusive organisation. There will always be a warm welcome and a safe place for trans people in guiding, and we have guidance on how volunteers can make sure this is a reality. No volunteer, member or member of staff should be treated less favourably because they’re trans.
  • Marital or civil partnership status. Volunteers, staff, and members, over 16 years old mustn’t be treated differently because they’re married or in a civil partnership. Find out more on our marriage and civil partnership webpage.
  • Pregnancy and maternity. No volunteer, member or staff member should be treated less favourably because they’re pregnant, breastfeeding or have recently given birth, without good reason (like a health and safety risk). All practical changes must be made to accommodate them.
  • Race. We know that it isn’t enough to not be racist – we have to be actively anti-racist. We all have a role to play in being actively anti-racist and living out our values of being inclusive and caring for others. By race we mean colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origins
  • Refugees and asylum seekers. Nobody at Girlguiding should be treated less favourably because they are a refugee or seeking asylum. Find out more about supporting refugee and asylum-seeking members.
  • Religion or belief (including the absence of religion or belief). Girlguiding is open to people of all faiths and philosophical beliefs and none. Any expression of religious or philosophical beliefs must be in line with Girlguiding’s code of conduct, policies and values. You can find more information on religion on our religious differences and guiding webpage.
  • Sexual orientation. We celebrate difference and believe that all members, volunteers and staff should be proud to be themselves, without fear of discrimination. No one in Girlguiding should be treated less favourably based on their sexual orientation. Take a look at our guidance on supporting lesbian, gay and bisexual members for more information.
  • Sex, (except that we're a trans-inclusive, girl-only space). We believe we best meet the needs of girls and young women by being a girl-only charity, led by girls and young women. This is part of our Royal Charter (the document that explains how we run) and our research shows our young members support this. While all our staff positions are open to everyone, only girls can become young members. Some of our volunteer positions are only open to women too. To help us be as inclusive as possible, Girlguiding’s definition of girl and woman includes those who are biologically female (however they identify) and those whose gender is a girl or a woman (trans girls and trans women).
  • Socio-economic status or class. Nobody at Girlguiding should be treated less favourably because of their socio-economic status or social class. We must try and remove barriers to taking part in Girlguiding based on this. Find out more about supporting members living in poverty.

We’re committed to giving all our staff equal opportunities – and to preventing discrimination – throughout their time with us. This includes equal opportunities related to recruitment, promotion, opportunities for training, pay and benefits, discipline and selection for redundancy.  

We want to support all staff and will make reasonable adjustments to help any employee do their role. 

All our staff must complete equality and diversity training. Staff involved in recruitment, or other decision-making where equal opportunities issues are likely to come up, do further equality and diversity training, tailored to their role.  

Staff can find out more about how we support equal opportunities in our equality and diversity procedure on the staff intranet, or from their manager. 

  • Staff Grievance procedure 
  • Staff Disciplinary procedure  
  • Staff Recruitment and Selection policy  
  • Safeguarding for Girlguiding staff 
  • Wellbeing resource pack 
  • Reporting Discrimination - Tell Jane 
  • Employee Assistance Programme