WAGGGS has a mission to improve the lives of girls and young women, and gender equality is a shared value in our Member Organisations.
Girlguiding Scotland (part of Girlguiding UK), working in a single sex setting, and Scouting Nederland, working in a co-educational setting, wanted to assess how their young members perceived gender norms, and whether girls and young women felt they had equal opportunities to pursue leadership roles both within and outside of the movement.
Young people involved in WAGGGS activities show less gender bias than young people in other contexts.
However, some young members still bring with them from wider media and culture certain attitudes and beliefs about women’s leadership potential. This may create barriers to girls’ leadership confidence within girl guiding and girl scouting that targeted activities can address.
Participation in this project expanded the view of leadership among both girls and boys, and helped young members to recognise more examples of female leaders in the wider world.
Some young people involved in these activities have experience of leadership that they do not recognise as valuable. Tailored activities can help them recognise and develop these skills further.
Girls can need dedicated to space to develop leadership confidence and structures to develop specific behaviours. It can help to allocate leadership roles to those less keen to put themselves forward.
Girls don’t easily ‘see’ the leadership skills they are gaining at the time. Leaders became much more conscious of the need to focus on providing all girls with a chance to try being a leader in a small group.
Girls don’t have enough visible ’famous’ female role models in society and had a tendency to confuse being a celebrity with being a role model.
A single sex setting was easier for girls to try out being a leader and yet many girls still needed ‘a gentle push’.
Leaders enjoyed the project- the focus made them think more about the subject and their own approach and experiences; they found the timescale challenging but at the same time they were glad it had a known start and finish date when they joined up. They enjoyed the international dimension.
The researcher was impressed by the high degree of engagement of all involved with the project- high rate of return for questionnaires and that everyone stayed engaged with the project to the end.
- Publication date: 31st December 2016
- Author(s): WAGGGS
- Length: 27 pages
- Resource type: Reports & research
- Resource topic: Leadership development