Fiona Buchanan: I can’t wait to help girls make change

We recently kicked-off our ground-breaking Action for Change project to inspire girls to use their voice to make a difference. Network Coordinator Fiona Buchanan will support girls as they are inspired to make change about issues that matter to them. She shares why she can’t wait to see what her group will achieve.

Whole group photo at Action for Change weekend
I’ve returned from one of the most inspirational, action-packed and mind-blowing weekends I’ve had in a long time – talking about how to change the world with 40 young women girls.

This ambitious project, funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation kicked-off with an Inspiration Weekend in Edinburgh. It was a chance for girls from all over Scotland to hear from top campaigners like Talat Yaqoob from Women 50:50 and Stevie Wise of the Sexist Surcharge, as well as receiving expert advice on how they turn their ideas into action.

As a campaigner working on social justice in the third sector, I was most excited about being able to combine my passion for Girlguiding with my desire to stand up for what I believe in. In a society where women are consistently objectified – in the media, at work, and at school – we need to show our young women that their voices and opinions matter. Giving young women the confidence and the tools to speak out on the issues they care about has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me.

What’s most exciting about this project is that it puts girls’ voices front and centre and gives them the confidence and tools to take action on their cause, in their own way.

Over the weekend I got to hear girls share their views on so many topics – from empowering women to take part in sport, to improving ethics in the fashion industry, ending stigma around mental health, to tackling bullying in their schools. I was blown away by how strongly they spoke about the issue they were passionate about when they had a safe space in which to do so.

Girlguiding’s Girls Attitude Survey demonstrated, 49% of girls aged 11–21 said that fear of abuse online makes them feel less free to share their views. And with 55% of girls aged 11- 21 feeling safer sharing their views anonymously, it’s clear that girls know speaking up for what they believe in isn’t always easy.

We might start small but I’m confident that these girls have the passion and commitment to make change happen – and I can’t wait to help them do it!