Equality, diversity and inclusion

Why equality, diversity and inclusion are important in Girlguiding - and how you can promote them in local guiding

What equality, diversity and inclusion mean in guiding

Girlguiding is an inclusive organisation and we want to ensure that all girls receive the same great guiding experience. This section provides information about equality, diversity and inclusion, why it is important in Girlguiding and how you, as a volunteer can promote inclusion.

If you have any queries or feel that further support or guidance is needed in this area then you are encouraged to seek help from your Commissioner or County Advisor.

What is inclusion?

In Girlguiding, inclusion is defined as giving all girls the same chance.

This is achieved by creating a safe environment where all girls feel an equal sense of belonging and receive tailored support to reach their maximum potential.

What is equality?

Equality is very similar to inclusion and is defined as providing 'equality of opportunity'.

Practically, this means doing what you can to ensure girls have the same chances to both join Girlguiding and participate. Equality also has legal recognition and this means we should not discriminate - in other words treat girls less favourably - because of who they are.

This legal requirement - framed in the Equality Act 2010 - is particularly relevant to guiding. It means we should be giving all girls of different races, religions and beliefs, and girls with disabilities, access to equal opportunities.

What is diversity?

Diversity means difference. We want our units and members to both recognise and embrace the common differences that may exist among people. For example, social and economic background, height, weight, hobbies and interests.

How do I promote inclusion in my unit?

There are a number of simple but effective actions that can be taken to promote inclusion. Make guiding inclusive by following these steps.

  • Be open to all girls - it is always good to remind parents and girls of this when promoting your unit. Some people think we are a Christian organisation, so it is worth stating that we are open to all girls and we have members from all the main UK faith groups and girls with non-religious beliefs.
  • Challenge perceptions and reach more girls - identify if there are any particular groups of girls that are represented in your local community but are not members of your unit. Could this be linked to an incorrect perception of guiding that you, as a volunteer, could change? For example, cost of joining, religious affiliation or time commitments. Read more about inclusive recruitment.
  • Encourage others - inspire your team to be inclusive and challenge girls who use behaviour or language that excludes or marginalises others in your unit. Our guidance on inclusive language shows you how to challenge unacceptable language and behaviour in unit meetings.
  • Adjust activities - make adjustments to ensure all girls have the same chance to participate. Because all girls are different, you may need to do slightly different things to allow people to join in. Our adapting games and activities guidance has hints and tips to help you make simple changes.

Treat girls as they might like to be treated - creating a safe and comfortable environment requires us to think about different cultural sensitivities when planning activities. This could, for example, be linked to a girl's dietary differences or culturally held beliefs.

Get advice on inclusion

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