One of the practical ways WAGGGS responds to our Mission is by undertaking research. We always want to learn as much as we can about what it’s like to grow into adulthood in Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting, and how we can ensure that experience has the greatest possible benefit to both young members and the societies around them. So we are happy to share that, building on the success of our work on gender and leadership to date and our previous collaboration with academic researchers in the Europe Region, we are pleased to announce a new, worldwide exploration into gender and leadership, to inform our future leadership work.
This large-scale research project, in partnership with the University of Exeter (UK), will use a global survey to explore attitudes towards leadership in young people, and the adults who support them. Also, through in-depth interviews in participating Member Organisations, it will explore the deeper opinions of young people of school-leaving age around their leadership experience and the barriers they may face in practicing leadership.
WAGGGS has extensive experience in working with young people on gender and related issues. Our global programmes Free Being Me and Stop the Violence have helped millions of young people across the world talk about gender-based violence, gendered expectations around body confidence, and the way gendered cultural roles affect their lives. In the Europe Region, we held a conference on the way that boys and men contribute to and are positively affected by the fight for gender equality, and worked with Oxford Brookes University, Scouting Nederland and Girlguiding Scotland (UK) to complete a Participatory Action Research project on gender and leadership. The results showed that young people who are involved in Guiding and Scouting show less gender bias than those who are not, but that they still carry with them some gendered ideas of what they can achieve from the outside world.
This work has led to the development of a Gender and Diversity Mainstreaming Tool to challenge these limitations. Gender is also important in the development of WAGGGS new leadership model, as one of the six mindsets needed to practice value based leadership.