A message from the Chief Guide, Amanda Medler

12 June 2020

At Girlguiding, we are committed to having open and​ honest conversations and taking time to reflect on our past, present and future to ensure we live up to our commitment to change and adapt as society changes, and as the lives of girls change.

As part of a wider debate on historical representation of oppression driven by the Black Lives Matter movement, this week there has been a focus on the potential removal of a statue of Robert Baden-Powell in Poole Harbour.

As you’ll know, Girlguiding began over 100 years ago when girls demanded their own organisation following the establishment of the Scouts. Baden-Powell ​started Girlguiding with his sister Agnes Baden-Powell ​which continued under the leadership of Agnes and later Olave Baden-Powell, his wife.

It is important that we make our commitment to inclusion clear. Last week, as leaders of Girlguiding, I made a public commitment alongside Angela Salt and Catherine Irwin to stand against racism. Our position stands that racism has no part in our community or society. As part of our commitment to being actively anti-racist, we need to listen, to learn and make informed decisions to do better.

This includes taking the time to review and consider our historic roots, to take stock of our present and to ensure that we can continue to adapt and change.

To be absolutely clear, we will not defend racist, homophobic or exclusionary actions past or present in any way. We know that uncomfortable conversations need to be had and we are committed to doing this in an open and honest way.

I know that many of our members will feel passionately about our heritage and I recognise some may now be struggling with elements of this. Please do talk to your commissioner for support. What I know is that we can all be proud of the impact we’ve had on the lives of girls and the positive contributions we have made to local communities for over a century.

Let us work together to educate ourselves, listen and grow so we can continue to change the world for the better.

-

Amanda Medler, Chief Guide