We caught up with Girlguiding Scotland spokesperson and former Speak Out champion Erin to talk about how being a member helped her realise she has the power to make real change.
Young people are the future and that’s why we need to have more of a say in the big decisions that impact our lives – in wider society and on a community level. It’s great that #iwill Week creates more conversations about how youth workers and volunteers can help support young people to use their voice for change.
It was actually through being a member of Girlguiding that I figured out I wanted to study international relations and politics, and become an activist. It was thanks to some of the amazing opportunities I got through guiding (which I wouldn’t have been given elsewhere) that I knew I wanted to make a difference in the world.
In 2018 I got to visit the House of Lords and shadow one of the members, Floella Benjamin, for the day. This opportunity came about as part of their celebration of the 60 years of the Life Peerage Act, which let women sit in the House of Lords. I also got to meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon through my Speak Out champion role – we discussed our Media Mindful campaign which focuses on gender roles in the media. These experiences helped me realise once and for all that I want to be in a position where I can help make the world a better place for girls and young women.
At the moment, I have been focusing mostly LGBT+ issues on my university campus – but the issue I am focused on in the long term is getting more girls and young women into politics. Being a Speak Out champing gave me the experience and confidence I needed I needed in order to make a change.
As well as taking part in local social action initiatives, another great way you can encourage girls to make a difference would be to explore the Media Mindful badge I mentioned earlier. The more girls and young women we make aware of gender inequality, and help them see they have the power to make a stand, the more chance we have of influencing positive change overall, in various aspects.
I am a clear example of how youth work can support young people to take action in the hope of creating a better future. I plan to use the skills I’ve developed through being part of Girlguiding to educate the next generation so they too know their voice is important.
Find out more and download the activity pack today! Together we can help stamp out sexism in the media.