Delegates in New York
“Girl Guiding gave me the chance to overcome my fears”
Candela González, 26
“When I was six, I moved to another city. Starting primary school was so nerve wracking, I forgot how to read. I became very shy and introvert. My parents were worried, so they decided the Girl Guides might help me find my feet and learn how to communicate with children and adults.
“I became a Girl Guide when I was 8. It’s strange to think of myself unable to communicate, unable to say what I wanted or thought. Yet now I have the possibility to speak out for millions of girls worldwide.
“Being a Girl Guide gave me the chance to overcome my fears and develop my social skills. I believe Girl Guiding changes lives, because my life has changed. I see the impact the Movement has had, helping Girl Guides become leaders, to speak out and know their rights.
“It’s amazing to see the change in others too. Three years ago, an autistic girl came to the group. She didn’t answer questions and didn’t say anything during meetings, but she stuck with it. Now, she’s 14 and is very sociable. She can communicate and interact with others without a problem.
“When I look at her I remember what I was like as a child and it confirms that Girl Guiding changes lives. It makes me feel proud as I can understand how she felt when she came and also I can see how happy she is now.
“Now, I work for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations from the Argentina Air Force. I organise trainings and I am a teacher at the Joint Armed Forces War School, training people who are going to work in the field.
“I have also worked with UNHCR, supporting refugee women from South Sudan, Syria, Ethiopia and Mali. It’s great to be able to combine my lifestyle with my work experience and I think it will stand me in good stead when I go to CSW. Girl Guides must take an active part in the 2030 Agenda, and work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), sharing our knowledge and experience so these goals are met.
“I truly believe we are responsible citizens’ worldwide ready to work at all levels (community, national, international) for a better world. Let's do what we know how to do.”
It’s time to make the world we want for girls a reality
Hannah Woodward, 24
“I’m excited to be returning to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women this year as WAGGGS’ delegation coordinator for the policy working group.
“As much as people might roll their eyes at the prospect, policy processes are an essential part of transformative change. We can talk about change as much as we want, but until we convert this talk into policy, action and change won’t take place.
“Sustainable development and gender equality are big goals. They require concerted action from the whole world to achieve them - not just from certain countries, but from all of them. Action must not just take place at a governmental level; it must take place at a community and individual level too. By taking responsibility and working together, we can make the world we want for girls a reality.
“In Australia, I’m a Girl Guide. I am part of the Olave Program and I am a unit leader. I love getting involved with my Guide Units in service, advocacy and community activities which in one way or another helps progress gender equity and the sustainable development agenda. I also work for a not-for-profit children's rights organisation, and I am on the steering committee of the Equality Rights Alliance.
“I’m excited to return to CWS this year as an advocate for girls’ and women’s rights. Last year nine WAGGGS delegates attended CSW60. As we were active, visible and powerful advocates, people would say: “Surely there are hundreds of Girl Guides here!”
“It was great to be present as a powerful voice, speaking out on behalf of the 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world. Achieving gender equality and sustainable development won’t be possible without accessing the full potential we have available. We can’t do this if women, girls and young people are discriminated against and held back by social norms.
“I’ve always believed there is an amazing power in young people that remains untapped. I believe children and young people have a right to be informed about and involved in their world. Without empowering girls and young women, we ignore over 50 percent of potential activists, champions and agents of change.”
“I want stronger policies, so we can put a stop to gender-based violence”
24, Asociación de Guías y Scouts de Chile
“I discovered guiding when I was 16. Most of my classmates were part of a Unit located near to my school and they invited me to join. I had lots of prejudices about Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting, but when I eventually joined, I felt part of something bigger and important.
“Being part of a Girl Guiding unit has made me aware that there is a world filled with possibilities. We have an opportunity to develop ourselves and create a better world.
“Two years later, I became leader for girls age 7-11. The experiences we’ve shared have made me fall in love with guiding. My drive for a better world for girls led me to become a National Trainer. Now I can help other leaders to understand how a Unit works, improve their programme of activities and provide new opportunities for girls.
“The project that has had the deepest impact on me is Stop The Violence and the Voices Against Violence curriculum, for which I am a national coordinator. Before these projects, advocacy had never been something our organisation had worked on. Now it’s a key focus, particularly advocating around the issue of gender inequality.
“I am looking forward to attending CSW and I hope my experience will help my country and my organisation establish stronger policies and more relevant opportunities to actually stop gender-based violence.”
“When the personal meets the political, great things can happen”
Jillian Ashick-Stinson, 23
“My family and Girl Guiding have been constant in my life. Now, Guiding is part of a larger family.
“From being a shy Pathfinder trying to figure herself out to an independent young woman, Guiding has let me be an active participant in my life and my future. One of the most important lessons Guiding’s taught me is the importance is fostering female friendship and empowering other women.
“I’ve always wanted to represent Girl Guiding on a global scale. It lets me combine my feminist activism with Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
“Being part of this delegation is an extension of the valuable lessons I’ve learnt through Guiding. It provides an opportunity to show world leaders the impact empowering women can have.
“When I’m not wearing blue, I’m studying for a Masters in Gender Studies, as well as interning at a children’s charity, developing girls’ programming. Outside of Guiding, I’m a full time yogi, baked good enthusiast and free book hunter.
“I’m so excited to work with WAGGGS on CSW. It combines my academic work with my personal feminist activism. I am a strong advocate of addressing the issues that affect girls’ and women’s economic growth and success, and I am eager to represent WAGGGS as they present the lived experiences of our members to Member States.
“When the personal meets the political, great things can happen, and that’s one of the many reasons I’m glad WAGGGS takes youth participation so seriously when engaging with large decision-making bodies.”
“Girl Guiding gave me confidence to speak out”
Heather Goult, 26, England
“Seven years ago, I struggled to walk into a room of new people, let alone stand up and speak to them.
“The moment it became really clear to me that I have a voice and I have every right to use it was at an NUS conference on Lad Culture. I was representing the Girlguiding UK Advocate panel, and helped to deliver a workshop on the Girls’ Attitudes Surveys. I remember explaining how popular films and stories were perpetuating Lad culture, and how that fed into rape culture. People were interested in what we had to say, and took everything on board. I’ve continued to head to events and speak up for girls, and now I’m unstoppable – from grilling politician Nick Clegg to challenging magazine editors on photoshopping!
“Girl Guiding gave me the space to grow and develop, to build my confidence, and to speak out where I saw an issue.
“I’m going to CSW because I believe every girl should have the opportunity to fulfil her potential. The world we live in is holding girls back, and it’s time to shatter glass ceilings everywhere. This year, the theme for CSW is Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work. I believe that to have truly economically empowered women, our governments must enable girls and young women to take every opportunity, they need education that doesn’t push them away from subjects stereotypically for boys and they need the skills that will enable them to take the world by storm.
“Until recently, I led Girlguiding UK’s Peer Education programme. We run Free Being Me training and activity sessions, and more recently launched a badge programme aimed at building resilience in girls and young women, enabling them to look after their mental wellbeing as much as possible.
“Over 18 months I trained more than 120 young women to deliver sessions and build girls’ skills. Girlguiding’s comprehensive programme gives girls the confidence and strength to tackle anything life throws at them. It’s what has helped me to grow from a shy teen to leading the communications team heading to the United Nations next month with WAGGGS. And these qualities are the ones that need to be nurtured in every girl and young woman around the world.
“Imagine what we could achieve if all of the millions of girls around the world were able to take every opportunity!”
“Girls are capable of great things!”
“As a five-year-old Girl Guide, I never imagined this Movement would provide me with so many opportunities that would shape and define me as a person.
“From hiking for five days with my best friend around rural Ireland and spending five months volunteering at Sangam World Centre in India, to participating in the Juliette Low Seminar at Our Cabana, I can wholeheartedly say I would not be the person I am today without Guiding.
“While the opportunities have been big, Guiding also represents the little things – friendship, support, confidence, fun and independence.
“At Sangam, I experienced the power of Guiding to enable girls and young women to view their lives in a different context at a grassroots level. To see a girl from a different country take part in local community leadership projects, influencing and supporting her team to achieve success was incredible to watch.
“With support, encouragement and opportunities, girls and young women are capable of great things. I am so excited to part of the delegation attending CSW61. To speak out and advocate on behalf of girls and women in Ireland, as well as on behalf of the 10 million WAGGGS members worldwide is an incredible privilege.
“There are so many things in this world that still seem impossible for girls to overcome, but with Guiding, anything is possible.”
“With education, we can change our world”
Laura Tentori, 27
Italian Scout Federation
“Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting can change lives. I’ve been a Girl Scout since I was nine and it’s taught me why gender equality matters.
“In fact, I’ve been interested in gender equality and violence for many years. I wrote my thesis on the issue of domestic violence. In Italy, women still face discrimination. Femicide is rife. Women are paid less than men and often women will not be considered for a job if she is pregnant. That’s why many women are forced to choose part-time jobs.
“I am now a teacher in schools, as well as at my Girl Scout group. I train others on WAGGGS’s Stop The Violence campaign, creating educational training materials and events for the Italian Scout Federation and for schools in our national territory.
“I believe we can address the issue of gender discrimination and violence by creating more opportunities for Girl Guide and Girl Scouts to learn about these issues in their group as well as in schools. We must teach people to respect others and understand women are not just objects.
“Education is key and with it, we can change the situation! I am looking forward to participating in CSW as I will learn new stories, different points of view and it will give me the skills I need to change the situation. It is a great honour and it shows how everyone can be part of the change and create a better world!”
“My biggest influence is my mother”
Zoelisao Rakotomananav (Mialy), 22
“CSW is an opportunity for me to speak out and advocate for girls and young women in my country. I want them to be able to get the same education as boys, so they can work where they want to.
“It’s also an opportunity to share the work of Girl Guides in Madagascar and highlight the issues important to us.
“It was my mother who inspired me to become a Girl Guide. Through guiding, she became an intelligent, respectable woman who was able to share solutions in any circumstances. As the first influential woman I ever met, I knew I had to become a Girl Guide too.
“Now I am working with young leaders, on programmes such as Free Being Me, Be the Change and Stop the Violence, helping me develop my own potential as well as the others.
“Guiding is very important in Madagascar. In a country where there are no real set policies for women’s economic empowerment and girls’ education is yet to become a priority, it is important for us to make our voices heard at an international level.
“Through Guiding, my participation in CSW and as a medical student, I want to make my voice heard and eventually open a private medical clinic in my country, so I can create jobs for young people including young women.”
Guiding gives me the space to speak up
Emma Guthrie, 26
“I am a proud and passionate feminist, lawyer and a member of Girlguiding UK.
“I have been a Girl Guide since I was six. It has had a significantly positive impact on my life. I have been given the opportunity to take part in projects, develop skills, travel the world and meet people I would not have otherwise met. Guiding has given me the space to speak up and the confidence to believe that when I do, others will listen.
“I know the amazing ability Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting organisations have to change the lives of their girls and young women. I have first-hand experience of this in the UK and around the world. In 2014, I worked with The Gambian Girl Guide Association on advocacy and leadership. Last year I was proud to be a lead volunteer for Girlguiding Scotland working on a gendered leadership project in partnership with WAGGGS’ Europe Region and Scouting Netherlands. Through both of these experiences I saw the ability our organisation has to support girls in developing their self-belief and encouraging them to take the lead. I was also reminded of WAGGGS’ commitment to the development of girls and young women.
“I am motivated to attend CSW61 because I am passionate about gender equality and the empowerment of girls and young women. I believe WAGGGS has an important role to play in CSW and its work. It represents the voices of 10 million girls and young women around the world. We should be the ear of those who have power to make real change, speaking for those girls and young women. We should be advocates for those girls and young women on issues which matter to them such as domestic violence, the gender pay gap or body image in the media. We should support them to lobby, promote and discuss the issues which they want to be at the forefront of.
“Being part of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is empowering. Our organisations provide informal education for girls and young women to develop skills and broaden their opportunities. We help them to be self-reliant and build their confidence. To make the Global Goals a reality we need to empower girls and women. We need to educate them. We need to advocate for and with them. We are for all girls and that inclusion is empowering.”
“My dad inspired me to become the strong knowledgeable woman I am today”
Lukwago Flavia, 20
“I was raised by my dad, after my parents separated when I was two. In Uganda, it’s rare to be raised by just a man. I have five sisters and my dad would take us to school every morning and pick us up in the afternoon.
“My dad really inspired me to become the strong knowledgeable woman I am today. After all, my father always said God could be a woman.
“I became a Brownie when I was five. It sparked my interest in issues such as gender inequality, gender-based violence and youth empowerment. I’ve worked as a volunteer in Uganda Girl Guides Association since 2014.
“In 2012, my friend and I founded a community youth programme called Sisters of Substance. It was the first of its kind in Uganda and now over 500 young girls attend, challenging themselves about issues affecting their everyday lives.
“I have also been trained on Free Being Me and I’ve represented the Uganda Girl Guides Association at a women’s summit aimed at encouraging Ugandan women to take the lead in gender equality and women’s economic development. I also organised the Girls in Innovation workshop at the National Camp which helped young girls unleash their social innovation potential as responsible citizens of the world
“My goal in life is to be an inspiration, a voice for the young women especially in Africa to stand up and speak out on issues that affect them every day.”
"Girls and young women must be central to the conversations at the community, national and international levels"
Anna Lousie Spencer, 20
I first became involved in GirlGuiding as a quiet seven year old. Mum and I saw the Brownies playing in the park and after some convincing, and on the condition that we went along together, I gave it a go. After that I don’t think I missed a night! Having finished university, and reflecting on what Guiding had contributed to my personal development as a girl, I joined the organisation again as a leader 8 years ago. At that time I never imagined the opportunities that would open up to me or the confidence and leadership skills I would gain. To me my participation in CSW and attendance at a UN conference is testament to the contribution that GirlGuiding makes to the development of both its girl and adult members.
I participated in CSW60 in 2016 as a remote delegate which was a fantastic opportunity to learn about CSW and UN processes and I was inspired by the passion and work of the other WAGGGS delegates during the conference.
I believe that central to creating sustainable and long term change towards gender equality is empowering the girls and young women of today - our leaders and changemakers of the future. To create this change girls and young women, who know best the issues and challenges they are facing, must be central to the conversations at the community, national and international levels. WAGGGS is in a unique position at CSW, representing girls and young women from around the world. I consider it a privilege to be member of the WAGGGS delegation to CSW61 and an opportunity to ensure that the voices of girls and young women around the world are taken into account in the international policy making arena.
Within GirlGuiding New Zealand I am the Ranger Advocacy Panel Portfolio holder – responsible for supporting and mentoring our Panel of 13-17 year old girls responsible for informing and leading the organisations advocacy efforts. Working with these exceptionally articulate and knowledgeable girls has highlighted to me the value that girl’s voices can bring to the table around issues that affect them both now and in the future. My goal for CSW61 is to give as many girls and young women as possible the opportunity to engage and to demonstrate to them that people want to hear their voices and that they really do count.