Equality and diversity policy

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

Approved: 7 June 2022
Version: 2
Content owner: Inclusion

We want to build an equal world where all girls can make a positive difference, be happy, be 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.

  • 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, either at HQ or by a country, regional or county office. When this policy mentions staff, it also includes contractors and consultants. 

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 ambition for diversity and inclusion is to be a place where everyone is welcome, free to be themselves, and has an equal sense of belonging. It’s the responsibility of everyone in guiding – whether you’re a volunteer, or member of staff (including contractors and consultants) – to follow this policy and help us achieve this. 

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, with this in mind. For example, by providing a training document in large print for a volunteer with a visual impairment, you are treating the volunteer differently in order 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. 

  • 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 and Volunteer recruitment and vetting policy and on our Age 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. Take a look at our advice on how to include children in care. 
  • Disability. We’re committed to making reasonable adjustments to support disabled young members, adult volunteers 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. 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, andwe have information on how volunteers can make sure this is a reality.No volunteer, young member or member of staff should be treated less favourably because they’re trans. A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process or part of a process to reassign a person’s sex or attributes of sex. This person is known as a trans person. Gender reassignment is a personal process rather than a medical one. 
  • Marital or civil partnership status. Staff, volunteers, or young 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 asylum seeker. 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 page.  
  • 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 are 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 members. Some of our volunteer positions are only open to women too. 
  • 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 country or region 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