As the leading charity for girls and young women in Scotland we were disappointed to see two of the United Kingdom’s most influential politicians being reduced to their ‘legs’ in today’s UK edition of the Daily Mail.

Girlguiding Scotland member Hannah Brisbane, 20, is a Guide Leader in Edinburgh. She shares why media sexism risks holding girls back:

“As a young woman, I was really shocked and disgusted to see the Daily Mail front page reducing two highly successful women to their body parts this morning.

“Whatever your political views, Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon are two of the most influential politicians in the UK and judging them like this sends out the message that women and girls’ voices don’t matter. As a politics student the kind of everyday sexism towards female leaders definitely gives me second thoughts about pursuing a career in politics if my looks are going to be considered the most important thing about me.

“And Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2016 shows that I’m not alone. It found 52% of girls aged 11-21 say seeing gender stereotypes makes them feel they might be held back in life because they are a girl. And 61% of girls aged 13-21 say it makes them feel disempowered when women are seen as sex objects.

“Toxic media sexism is holding girls back from achieving their potential. It sends the message that girls and women continue to be judged more on how they look than what they have to say.

“As a Leader with my local Guide unit, I’m proud to be part of an organisation that tackles sexism and empowers a girls and young women to become the leaders of tomorrow through initiatives like Girlguiding Scotland’s’ WOWwoman campaign which celebrates the achievements of female role models from all walks of life.

“Our action-packed programme offers girls a safe space to enjoy new experiences, gain new skills and take the lead – encompassing everything every from outdoor adventure to social action, international travel to advocacy.”


For further information, please contact Mairi Gordon, Media and PR Officer at or call 0131 226 4511 or 07852 554 779 (out of hours)

About Girlguiding Scotland:

Girlguiding Scotland is the leading charity for girls and young women in Scotland, with 50,000 young members. We build girls’ confidence and raise their aspirations. We give them the chance to discover their full potential and encourage them to be a powerful force for good. We give them a space to have fun. Find out more at

About the Girls Attitude Survey:

  • Girls’ Attitudes 2016 is a survey of 1,627 girls and young women aged between 7 and 21 who were asked about their attitudes on a range of issues from health and wellbeing to relationships and careers.
  • A panel of young women from within Girlguiding works with the project team to develop the survey and to comment on its findings. Those surveyed form a representative sample across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and are not restricted to those involved in guiding.
  • Research was conducted by leading research specialists on children and young people Childwise and fieldwork took place during March to May 2016.
  • The questionnaire was adapted to be suitable for different age groups (7-11, 11-16, 16-21), with some core questions asked of all groups.