A young Girlguiding Scotland member from Bonnyrigg will be taking on change in her local area after joining Action for Change, the UK’s largest girl-led advocacy network.
Seventeen-year-old Katie McKinnon, who is a member of The Senior Section and volunteers at her local Brownie unit, joined with Girlguiding Scotland members, all aged 13 to 18, at a special Action for Change network weekend recently.
At the weekend event Katie got to grips with campaigning techniques, with hands-on workshops run by Change.org and Parliamentary Outreach, and inspiring talks from young female campaigners including Stevie Wise, who started the Sexist Surcharge petition to stop companies charging more for women’s products, and Talat Yaqoob, co-founder of the Women 50:50 campaign to increase female representation at all levels of government.
For the next year Katie will be part of the Action for Change network in Scotland tackling issues in her local area and feeding into Girlguiding Scotland campaigns.
Katie said: “I’m so excited to be part of the Action for Change network because I want to learn the skills needed to make a difference to my local community.
“For my Action for Change project I want tackle gender stereotyping in children’s toys so that kids don’t grow-up with the message that some toys and interests are only for girls or for boys.
“It was great to meet so many girls from all over Scotland who are passionate about making change and I’m excited to use my voice and speak out on an issue that matters to me.”
With support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Girlguiding will be launching nine Action for Change networks across the UK over the next three years.
The innovative project will give hundreds of young women in guiding the skills, confidence and ongoing support that they need to speak up about the issues that matter to them, build a fairer society and play their part in changing their communities for the better.
Sue Walker, Girlguiding Scotland’s Chief Commissioner, said: “I was thrilled to meet so many girls and young women from all over Scotland who are excited to make change in their local communities and beyond.
“As the leading charity for girls and young women in Scotland, we’re committed to empowering girls and young women to use their voice and be a powerful force for good.
“Girlguiding Scotland’s young members already make a real difference on all sorts of issues – from collecting practical aid for refugees to calling for action to end sexual harassment in schools.
Action for Change is helping more girls and young women to take social action to the next level, helping them gain the skills and confidence to speak up and make the change they want to see. I can’t wait to see what the girls achieve.”
Eight years of Girlguiding research has shown the daily pressures and discrimination that girls and young women continue to face, from body image anxiety and sexual harassment in schools, to mental health concerns, cyber-bullying and gender stereotypes in education and careers.
Action for Change continues the work done by the charity in recent years to empower a diversity of girls and young women from across the UK to speak out on these issues and others, getting their voices heard on a local and national scale.
Campaigning for change and taking social action are just two of the opportunities Girlguiding Scotland offers girls and young women, ages five to 25, to grow in confidence, reach for the stars, have fun and be a powerful force for good.
To find out more about joining – as a young member or a volunteer – go to www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/get-involved/