Equality Act 2010
This guidance explains the legal requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and what this means for guiding
Girlguiding is for all girls - which means we want to include everyone
The Equality Act 2010 is a legal requirement for us to make sure we don't discriminate against anyone who joins or wants to join. As a Girlguiding member, you need to be aware of the Equality Act 2010 and what it means for guiding.
The Equality Act was created to unite existing anti-discrimination legislation into one act for England, Scotland and Wales. Girlguiding’s equality and diversity policy is rooted in the Equality Act and applies to all countries and regions that Girlguiding operates in, including Northern Ireland.
Who is covered by the Equality Act?
The Equality Act protects people from being discriminated against based on their:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
These are known as protected characteristics.
The Act also differentiates between direct and indirect discrimination.
Direct discrimination - when a person is treated differently because of a protected characteristic. For example, they are not allowed to use the same facilities as other members of the group.
Indirect discrimination - when rules, facilities or policies are applied to everyone but may put people with protected characteristics at a disadvantage. For example, enforcing that all girls wear shorts as part of a sports kit would be indirect discrimination against girls from some religious communities.
In addition, the Act provides protection from discrimination to people associated with someone with a protected characteristic. For example, the person with parental responsibility for a child with a disability.
What does it mean for me and my unit?
It is unlawful to discriminate against any member, or anyone wishing to become a member, who has a protected characteristic.
This includes preventing them from becoming a member or providing them with a different guiding experience.
Reasonable adjustments must be made for disabled members. These include making buildings accessible where possible and making adjustments to programme so that everyone can join in with activities. Get further guidance on including members with additional needs.
When you have your meeting with new volunteers or the parents/carers of new young members, this is an ideal opportunity to discuss additional needs and requirements.
Does this mean that Girlguiding will let boys join in future?
No. Providing a girl-only space is key to what Girlguiding offers. Since this girl-only space is a way of achieving our aims of enabling girls and young women to develop their potential, it would not be seen as discrimination.
Where can I get further help?
For further information on the Equality Act visit the Equality and Human Rights Commission website or get in touch with the Inclusion team.