East Kilbride Girlguiding Scotland members tell local MP that ‘Girls Matter’

A group of young Girlguiding Scotland members from Westwood, East Kilbride, met local MP Michael McCann to tell him about the issues facing girls and young women at their meeting yesterday (Thursday 19 March 2015).

The girls and young women from the Westwood Guide and Senior Section groups joined together to tell the East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow MP about Girlguiding’s Girls Matter campaign.

Girls Matter features eight direct calls to politicians ahead of the general election in May. The calls for change are based on consultations with more than 2,400 girls aged 7-25. They include calls for politicians to guarantee that women will be equally represented in parliament, to call on schools to teach body confidence and gender equality and to make girls’ rights an international development priority.

During their meeting, the girls and young women had the chance to talk to their local MP about issues they care about and Girls Matter. The girls also got an insight into what it’s like to be an MP and Michael McCann’s work within international development and the government’s work towards equal representation of men and women in Parliament.

Guide Amy Anderson, 11, said: “Michael McCann MP was so nice and approachable. He was great at talking to us on our level and really made us feel like he was listening.”

Senior Section member, Sian Oo, 14, said: “Michael McCann made me and the other girls more interested in politics – I now want to get involved”

Michael McCann MP said: “I was delighted to take up the invitation to speak to the Westwood Guides and Senior Section group.

“My brief was to speak about my work in Parliament but we also took the opportunity to discuss Girlguiding’s ‘Girls Matter’ campaign.

“I support each of the objectives in the campaign and indeed the good news is that the issues are being actively pursued.

“I was able to tell the Guides about the 50/50 campaign – for equal representation of men and women in Parliament; the work already being pursued by Parliamentarians on body confidence and gender equality, and the work the United Kingdom does though its exemplar International Development programmes to promote women and girls and much more.

“I’d like to thank the Girlguiding for the invitation and I hope to continue to pursue their aims and objectives in the next Parliament.”

More than 10,000 young women involved in guiding will vote for the first time in the next general election, yet 57 per cent of girls and young women aged 11 to 21 feel that politicians do not listen to them enough. Girls Matter calls for MPs to meet with girls to listen to their views, and the Westwood Guides and Senior Section group did just that.

Mhairi MacLeod, Leader with Westwood Senior Section group said: “We had a great night with Michael McCann and I was very impressed at how much research he had done into Girlguiding Scotland.

“He talked to the girls about Girls Matter, his work with International Development and discussed the oppression of girls and women in some countries.

“The girls also got an insight into the life of an MP, what he does for his constituents and how he represents East Kilbride in Westminster – it was very interesting and I have never known the girls to be so quiet.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  • Through their Girls Matter campaign Girlguiding members are calling on all politicians to commit to eight key changes that will improve girls’ lives. For more information about Girlguiding’s Girls Matter campaign, visitwww.girlguiding.org.uk/girlsmatter.
  • A number of MSPs, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, have backed the Girls Matter campaign, and a motion about it has received cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament.
  • The charity has also launched a new democracy badge called Girls Matter: Hear Our Voice inspiring girls aged 5-25 to engage with politics and have their say. Girl-only activities include learning about the history of democracy, exploring the workings of Government and how girls can launch campaigns on issues that matter to them.
  • Girlguiding’s Girls Matter Policy Asks
    Listen to girls and young women, take them seriously and make sure their voices countDemand schools take a zero tolerance approach to sexual bullying and harassmentCall on all schools to teach body confidence and gender equalityMake girls’ rights a priority in the UK’s approach to international development

    Stop children’s exposure to harmful sexualised content in mainstream media

    Empower girls and young women to speak out and be heard on the impact of media sexism and stereotyping

    Modernise sex and relationships education so all young people can make informed decisions and stay safe

    Guarantee that women will be equally represented in parliament

  • Girlguiding Scotland is Scotland’s leading charity for girls and young women with more than 60,000 members. We are part of a worldwide movement which enables girls and young women to fulfil their potential and take an active and responsible role in society. Girlguiding opens up a world of exciting opportunities for girls and young women across Scotland. Girls can take part in a wide range of activities from adventure sports to camps, international trips, science projects and community action. Find out more @GirlguidingScot, www.facebook.com/GirlguidingScot or www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk.
  • Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, with 553,633 members. Thanks to the dedication and support of 100,000 amazing volunteers, we are active in every part of the UK, giving girls and young women a space where they can be themselves, have fun, build brilliant friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their lives and their communities. 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. We run Rainbows (5–7 years), Brownies (7–10 years), Guides (10–14 years) and The Senior Section (14–25 years). Registered Charity No. 306016. www.girlguiding.org.uk.