Young Glasgow woman inspired to fight for gender equality after meeting Malala Yousafzai

A young Girlguiding Scotland member from Glasgow has been inspired to change the world after meeting girls’ education campaigner Malala Yousafzai during a two-year stint as a young Girlguiding advocate.

Isla Whateley, 18, has been a member of the UK charity’s Advocate panel since September 2013, speaking out about issues which matter to girls and young women such as The Sun’s Page 3.

Since then she’s worked with Youth for Change to raise awareness of child marriage and FGM and met Theresa May and Justine Greening as well as Malala. She’s also been interviewed by Laura Bates, the founder of Everyday Sexism.

Isla, who is a member of the North West Division Senior Section in Glasgow, said: “It was amazing to meet such an inspirational person like Malala – especially because she has done so much for the rights of women and girls at such a young age, which gives me confidence that I can do similar things without my age holding me back.”

She added: “I’ve gained so many skills and so much knowledge from being an Advocate.

“I’m much more confident in myself, and I’m also much more aware of issues affecting girls and young women.”

Isla plans to stay involved in campaigning for the rights of girls and young women, and is hoping to work in the field of social sciences after university.

She said: “If it weren’t for Advocate I definitely wouldn’t be on the path I am now.

“I’m so thankful for all the opportunities I’ve received and I’m going to really miss being on the panel!”

Earlier this year, the Advocate panel led Girlguiding’s Girls Matter campaign, which aimed to ensure that politicians listened to the concerns of girls and young women ahead of the general election. Several MSPs, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, committed to tackling sexism and making life fairer for girls by taking the Girls Matter pledge, and a motion about it received cross-party backing in the Scottish Parliament.

ENDS

  1. For photos of Isla, please contact the Girlguiding Scotland press office.
  2. Girlguiding’s Advocate panel is a group of young Girlguiding members aged 14-25 from across the UK. They meet throughout the year to talk about issues that are important to them, such as body confidence, representation of girls and women in the media, teenage mental health and role models for girls. Girlguiding’s Advocate panel also has a huge say on the direction of Girlguiding’s annual Girls’ Attitudes Survey, the charity’s leading research into the lives of girls and young women in the UK.
  3. For more information about Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey, visit www.girlguiding.org.uk/girlsattitudes
  4. For more information about Girlguiding’s Girls Matter campaign, visit www.girlguiding.org.uk/girlsmatter.
  5. Girlguiding Scotland is Scotland’s leading charity for girls and young women, 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 www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk.
  6. Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, with 559,996 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. Find out more at www.girlguiding.org.uk.