Glasgow teen discusses women in politics with top campaigner

A young Girlguiding Scotland member from Glasgow attended a meeting in London on Saturday 25 April 2015 to discuss women’s role in politics ahead of the general election.

The meeting, chaired by Ciara O’Connor, founder of young women’s organisation The Emily Tree, saw Isla Whateley, 18, lead a debate on how to encourage young women to make their voices heard.

Ahead of the General Election, Girlguiding members have launched a cross-party campaign, Girls Matter, calling on politicians to help create a more equal society for girls by pledging to implement eight calls for change.

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.

Isla is a member of Girlguiding’s Advocate panel, a group of 14-25 year olds who discuss issues affecting girls and seek change.

Isla Whateley, 18, a Girlguiding Scotland member with the North West Division Senior Section Unit based in Partick said: “I really enjoyed the discussion with The Emily Tree and finding out how we could help more young women engage with politics.

“It is vitally important that young women have their say on how the UK is run!”

The Emily Tree aims to get girls and young women interested in politics and help them run engagement sessions in schools and communities about participation and gender equality. The organisation’s internship programme with local MPs to young women aged 15 -18.

Ciara O’Connor, co-founder of The Emily Tree, said: “Both Girlguiding and the Emily Tree are passionate about increasing the number of women involved in politics.

“It was great to meet these politically engaged young women, and discuss the practical steps both charities are taking to ensure that women are fairly represented, both in politics and in wider society.”


Notes to editors:

  1. For a photo of Isla please contact Girlguiding Scotland’s press office.
  2. For more information about Girlguiding’s Girls Matter campaign, visit
  3. 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.
  4. Girlguiding’s Girls Matter Policy Asks
    • Listen to girls and young women, take them seriously and make sure their voices count.
    • Demand schools take a zero tolerance approach to sexual bullying and harassment.
    • Call on all schools to teach body confidence and gender equality.
    • Make 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.
  5. 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, or
  6. 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.