Belonging in guiding
We've been busy during the first 12 months of our diversity and inclusion plan
We all want Girlguiding to be a welcoming place where everyone involved feels the same sense of belonging.
We’re proud to be an inclusive organisation and want to build an equal world.
There are lots of things that make us unique, and at Girlguiding we want to be a place where different experiences are valued and celebrated. Some of these differences are known as protected characteristics and discriminating against you because of a protected characteristic is against the law. The protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief including a philosophical belief, sex, and sexual orientation.
In 2021 we took a closer look and did an audit on how we’re doing on inclusion. We learned from you (Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers, volunteers, parents and staff) that sometimes we’re not doing enough. 12 months into our commitment to do better, this is how far we’ve come.
Changing our culture
We’re trying to give staff, volunteers and girls the tools to understand inclusion and make change. This year we created a major new e-learning resource, Including all, that gives you practical ways to make sure everyone in your unit feels included and free to be themselves.
For years we’ve taken part in LGBT+ Pride events across the country, and we wrote about some inspiring LGBT+ people, their history and more. 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 information on how everyone can make sure this is a reality.
We've started rolling out race equity training because our audit found that instances of discrimination were most frequently reported by people of colour. So far, our trustees, senior staff leaders, country and region managers and chief commissioners have done it. Our trustees (the people who have ultimate responsibility for how Girlguiding runs) are also looking at what they can do – from the projects we focus on, to the policies we create.
We also continued our work to remove barriers for disabled members by creating new training and guidance for volunteers.
Meet our nine inclusion advisers! Between them they have a wealth of expertise and lived experience of different areas of inclusion, including disability, mental health, young carers, race, LGBT+ and faith. They will help us all to create an inclusive environment across Girlguiding. This was something we promised we’d do this year.
Our eight identity-based networks are led by staff, for staff. They give our employees the space to come together for conversation, change-making and celebration.
Representation and power
We want to be an organisation that properly reflects society, where you can see people from different marginalised communities at all levels of power. We published our first ethnicity pay gap report, because tackling differences in pay is important. We’ve got a small gap in favour of ethnic minority employees.
We made a commitment to stand together as a movement against racism. Together we celebrated Black History Month; wrote about avoiding microaggressions; and thought about anti-racism in the charity sector.
Welcoming new volunteers from different marginalised communities is something we must get right. We’ve got a joint project that will help us and the Scouts find more volunteers and make them feel like they belong from the word go.
Communication is important
The people in charge of guiding (our chief executive, chief guide and chair of the board of trustees) have made a public commitment to diversity and inclusion. Since then, we’ve done more to make sure marginalised people are seen and heard in guiding.
We're trying to do more to recognise and celebrate our differences. We’re working with marginalised groups to share how you’re making guiding more inclusive on the ground. We explored lots of things like:
- How to create a space in a unit meeting setting for conversations around inclusion to happen
- Communicating well with D/deaf members
- Celebrating different faiths
- Helping girls from low-income families to join
- Providing trusted advice on making sure everyone feels safe and included on residential trips
- What LGBT+ Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers want their leaders to know
- How to make more inclusive food for Veganuary.
Communicating with more of those who don’t feel like they belong in guiding will be the aim of a brand new project funded by the Garfield Weston Foundation. Together we’ll create new ways of doing guiding and make it easier for people to have amazing guiding experiences. We’re looking forward to meeting different community groups and leaders to start work on this.
Watch this space
Have you done one of our surveys yet? We’ve added questions so you can tell us exactly how much you feel you can be yourself in guiding. Keep an eye out on your emails for the next one.
Later this year we’ll show you our sparkling new inclusion unit meeting activities for Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers. And we’ve trained our Safe Practice and HR staff teams on how to respond to your questions and problems in an inclusive way.
We all belong
Thank you for everything you’ve done to embrace the plan and make sure everyone feels welcome in guiding.
As we move forward, we want to make sure we all keep up this momentum. We will not stand still in our mission to make society a more equal place. This is just the beginning.