Own Our Zone campaign round up


Last year our Speak Out champions successfully launched the Own Our Zone campaign. Working in partnership with Make Space For Girls, this campaign is all about making public spaces safer for girls and young women across Scotland.


Activity Pack

The champions sought to create tangible change and to empower girls to reach their full potential and find their voice outside. They created an activity pack for members aged 4 – 18 to help them to think critically about the outdoor spaces they use and what they want to see to make it safer and more inclusive. So far, over 1,200 badges have been sold as girls across the country completed the pack and we know many more will be planning to take part in the coming terms!


Support in the Scottish Parliament

Following the development of a series of policy calls, the campaign received support from the Scottish Parliament, with Monica Lennon MSP submitting a Motion to Parliament recognising the importance of the campaign and the importance of tackling the systemic barriers that prevent girls and young women from feeling safe outside.

The MSP for Shetland, Beatrice Wishart, also gave her support for the campaign as she shared Own Our Zone with Shetland Islands Council and asked what consideration is given to designing safer spaces for women and girls in Shetland, focusing on some specific developments which are being undertaken in Shetland. Shetland Islands Council are taking deliberate steps to consult with the community on the development of spaces and are working collectively to ensure spaces are made for and with girls and young women.

On social media, other Members of Scottish Parliament also expressed their support for Own Our Zone. Thank you to Jackie Baillie MSP and Finlay Carson MSP for supporting our campaign on Twitter. Thank you to all other decision-makers and MSPs who shared the campaign and called for everyone to listen to girls’ voices from the start when it comes to designing outside spaces!



From 25 September to 1 October 2023, the campaign Week of Action invited members of the public to get involved in the campaign. Everyone was encouraged to get outside to explore their local area and take pictures of places that could be improved or places that they did feel safe, before sharing them online with the hashtag #PictureProtest and tagging local MSPs or town councils.

Picture Protest was a success with girls and young women across the country taking part on Twitter and Instagram.

Check out some of the #PictureProtest threads and stories below!



Celebrating the campaign

To celebrate the successful delivery of Own Our Zone and to recognise the hard work of our Speak Out champions, we had hoped to hold a Parliamentary Reception in January – hosted at the Scottish Parliament Building. The event was to bring together Speak Out champions, Members of Scottish Parliament, Girlguiding Scotland members and external stakeholders and partners to hear about the importance of the advocacy campaign. Unfortunately, Scotland’s winter storms had other ideas and the event was cancelled.  Check out some words from our champions below that they had hoped to share at the event about their involvement with the campaign and the impact that it had.






Denise Spence, the CEO of Girlguiding Scotland, has also shared some thoughts about empowering girls and young women to know they can do anything, and creating a platform to ensure their voices are heard at all levels of decision making:

“Thank you for coming to support us tonight. In particular we thank Monica Lennon for hosting us and for your ongoing support of all that we do.

We acknowledge the hard work of all the champions on the project, especially those who have spoken tonight, to Chloe and Grace and to Katie Horsburgh our overall lead volunteer for girl voice. I would also like to publicly thank the staff team for their support and especially Philippa.

Last year Girlguiding updated their brand with a call to action that ‘’Girls can do anything’’. We have seen through the commitment of the speak out champions and from the thousands of girls that have taken part in this project and campaign that we mean it.

Across Scotland there are 3,000 groups meeting every week and 9,000 adults giving their time and talents for free to Girlguiding. We are in every local authority and through our programmes for girls and young women we are active in many local communities.

We believe in helping to build society, locally, nationally and globally. We celebrate being part of a world movement calling for attention to the rights of girls across the globe and we are proud to say that several of our members have had their voices heard at highest level of the United Nations. All of this starts locally – the tireless contribution of grassroots volunteers who believe passionately in helping every young member to find their voice – we are proud of each young adult here tonight that has been part of this project and of those that have supported them.

We believe girls can do anything and this summer we are holding a special sort of camp: Camp CEO. This will be an opportunity for members aged between 14 and 18 years to engage with successful leaders from across a range of industries and sectors. The event is in August and participants drawn from across Scotland will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities with leaders, predominantly women, to explore their interests and support them to prepare as they are beginning to think about future professional development and careers.

We have found that people’s perception of the guides dates from the last time they encountered it- so we invite you to update other people about us from how you have found us tonight – we are active connected citizens of our communities and of our world and we want your support to make the world a better place for this generation and the next.

We believe that we give girls courage in the moment and confidence in life – you have seen it here tonight and we thank you for your ongoing support.”

Thank you to MSP Monica Lennon for sponsoring the Parliamentary Reception and supporting the campaign throughout. Read below for Monica’s speech from the reception:

“I am delighted to be supporting Girlguiding Scotland’s efforts in championing Scotland’s youth through their latest Speak Out campaign; Own Our Zone.

Girlguiding Scotland holds a special place in my heart as they played a huge role in my campaign to ensure access to free period products in Scotland, as far back as 2016.

Their commitment to providing free period products at local meetings was ground-breaking and set an example for others to follow. Girlguiding Scotland has been at the forefront of empowering girls and young women, challenging gender stereotypes, fostering skill development, and creating safe spaces for self-expression.

The Speak Out: Own Our Zone Campaign emphasises the importance of making public spaces safe for women and girls. Public health messaging often highlights the importance of physical exercise but fails to address the fear many girls feel in public spaces. With adequate government funding, local authorities can improve this by increasing street lighting, ensuring clear signage and increasing public transport options.

For instance, in my local area, an essential bus route that connected Hamilton residents to Glasgow was axed during the Covid-19 pandemic and has not been reinstated. Cuts like this deter young people from participating in social, educational and outdoor activities, giving them understandable concerns about getting home safely. Girlguiding Scotland’s helpful research suggests that it is young women who miss out the most when public transport is cut.

The tragic gender divide which exists in our public spaces must be challenged to allow women and girls full access and enjoyment of our built and natural environment. As a former urban planner, I understand the transformative impact design and planning can have. This is why mobilising equality must be at the centre of planning and placemaking.

By listening to the experiences of the ‘Speak Out Champions’, policymakers can better understand the ongoing challenges faced by Scotland’s girls and it is brilliant to see research that is centred around the voices of young women.

While progress has been made, systemic barriers still exist, hindering the sense of safety for many girls. We must continue to listen to the voices of young women to address these challenges effectively.

I extend my deepest appreciation to Girlguiding Scotland for their dedication to empowering Scotland’s youth.

The Speak Out campaign is a testament to their commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of young girls and women. As we move forward, let us continue to support initiatives that amplify the voices of the next generation, creating a safer and more inclusive future for all.”


We are incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication shown by our Speak Out champions, as they look to make their communities safer and society more equal for all girls and women. Thank you to everyone who was involved in the production of Own Our Zone.