Cultural differences and guiding

Common cultural and religious differences in modern Britain to consider as a Leader

Girlguiding - and our membership - changes as the lives of girls change

Nearly 15% of girls living in the UK belong to minority ethnic groups, including people from India, Poland, Pakistan, Ireland, Africa and Germany. It is right that our membership reflects this diverse demographic, as guiding is for all girls - no matter what their heritage.

What does the term culture mean?

Culture is defined as the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society. Practically, this can often be indicated by the things people do which are considered to be normal in their community. For example, in Britain it is traditional to set the table with the fork on the left and knife on the right, however in America this would be done the other way round.

Key considerations for Leaders

Make sure that you don't accidentally exclude or alienate girls from different cultural backgrounds by keeping the following things in mind.

  • Clothing - some girls will be required to wear certain clothing and jewellery in addition to their uniform to reflect their cultural or religious beliefs. Get more information on inclusive uniform and clothing.
  • Diet - as some girls do not eat certain foods, it is important to understand dietary requirements and show sensitivity when planning activities with food and drink. Find out how to include girls with different dietary requirements.
  • Language and gestures - these can differ greatly between cultures. In Britain, making direct eye contact is often encouraged in others while in other cultures making direct eye contact – especially to Leaders - can be regarded as a sign of disrespect. Keep this in mind when interacting with girls, and be open and understanding to the ways they chose to express themselves.
  • Religious differences - you may need to make some changes to include girls from different religious backgrounds. Our guidance has advice on how to consider these religious differences.

Get advice on inclusion

Contact the Inclusion team at Girlguiding HQ for more information about including all girls and volunteers in guiding.