Amanda Amaeshi is a 16-year-old advocate for Girlguiding, the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK. She first joined Girlguiding when she became a Guide, aged 10. After leaving Guides at age 14, she became a young leader at a local Brownies unit, and, since October 2019, has been a member of the Girlguiding Advocate Panel.
“We need to continue to uphold pressure. We need to continue to hold those in positions of power accountable. Everyone can help make this important journey to equality. Our individual actions, conversations, and mindsets can have an impact on wider society. Collectively, we can all help to create a gender-equal world.”
Creating a safe environment for girls
Powered by 100,000 volunteers, Girlguiding supports nearly 400,000 girls and young women all over the UK, providing a safe, welcoming girl-only space for girls and young women to try new things, help other people and discover their passions and talents. All while having lots of fun and adventure– whether virtually, or where restrictions allow, in person.
Girls shape and lead everything we do; we’re always updating and adapting our programme and resources so that they’re relevant to girls today. Girls have the opportunity to engage with and learn so many different skills from learning to abseil, upcycling, vlogging, learning about algorithms or critiquing the media, to building resilience through our wellbeing activities and peer education programme. The list is endless.
I joined the wonderful Girlguiding community six years ago, and I love being a part of it. I’ve had incredible experiences, made lifelong friendships, and learned invaluable skills which I’m sure will help me in the future, wherever that may lead me.
I think Girlguiding is such an important space for girls, especially right now. During these uncertain times, we need each other more than ever. The Girlguiding community, both physically and online, is and will continue to be a supportive and uplifting place for all our members.
COVID-19 can’t stop us!
Throughout this challenging year, Girlguiding’s goal has been to remain at the heart of local communities and to continue building the confidence, skills, and friendships of our girls and volunteers.
In March, Girlguiding launched the Adventures at Home hub, available for all young people, not just members. It provided daily and weekly activities, as well as wellbeing and resilience resources that could all be done at home.
Lots of units have also been meeting virtually, which during lockdown especially has helped girls to stay connected and be able to see their friends.
Excitingly, in May, Girlguiding hosted its own virtual festival – the Adventures at Home Festival – which was so awesome! It featured loads of super fun activities and inspirational talks, from WNBA player Temi Fagbenle leading a workout, video game designing, den building, music and comedy performances and a campfire sing-along, to name but a few. I even filmed a science experiment as part of the AAH festival (featuring some highly questionable dancing!).
Myself and the other advocates also used social media to deliver Advocate-led campaigns and projects, such as #SewcialDistancing – where we challenged Guiding members to sew a badge on every day and share the story behind each badge – and #Uniform4Uniforms – where we encouraged members to wear their Guiding uniform during the weekly clap for our keyworkers to show solidarity and support.
Within hours of us launching these initiatives, we witnessed them being shared across all different Girlguiding groups. The response was overwhelming, and it was so touching to read messages shared by members about their fond memories and experiences in Girlguiding.
Being an advocate for Girlguiding
We work behind the scenes to create national campaigns, such as last year’s #PlasticPromise campaign to tackle plastic pollution, and our work has contributed to big changes being made across various sectors, including the announcement of free period products across Scotland and in schools and colleges in England and Wales, with plans to eradicate tampon tax across the UK.
I’m so privileged to be part of a group of passionate and driven young women from across the UK. We may have had different life experiences, but we all have one thing in common: a burning desire to make real change within society.
It’s also been so inspiring encouraging young Brownies, who aren’t very confident, to join in with the activities. It feels great to give back to the Girlguiding community, an organisation that has helped me. To have the opportunity to do this on a larger scale, on a national scale, is so amazing. I want to inspire and empower other young people to speak out about issues affecting their lives, regardless of who they are or where they come from.
Future Girl was developed after consultation and research with 76,000 girls in guiding, aged 4-25. Girls and young women shared their concerns, hopes, and ideas about the world and their lives. The topics that girls of all ages care strongly about – such as bullying, gender stereotypes, appearance pressures, and the environment – shaped Future Girl.
Future Girl sets out the future that girls want in five key topics: Adventurers, Barrier Breakers, Planet Protectors, Respect Makers, and Self-Believers. We strive to make this future a reality, for all girls.
What do girls want?
Every year Girlguiding asks over 2,000 girls and young women, inside and outside of guiding for their thoughts concerning their everyday lives. Their responses form the Girls’ Attitudes Survey.
Despite this year being a year like no other, some themes haven’t changed: girls and young women face persistent and unfair barriers to being happy and confident, and they want to speak up on the decisions that affect their lives – especially in these extraordinary times.
One key statistic that stuck out to me was that 73% of girls and young women aged 11-21 want more opportunities for young people to be involved in politics and decision-making. Especially in this current climate of uncertainty, it is crucial that young people’s voices and concerns are not ignored, especially when it comes to education and employment. This statistic highlights the eagerness for girls and young women to be a part of the decision making.
The importance of Day of the Girl
International Day of the Girl is so much more than simply celebrating girls’ achievements and celebrating the change that’s been made so far. It’s about recognising that we still have some way to go in continuing the fight for equal rights.
We need to continue to uphold pressure. We need to continue to hold those in positions of power accountable. Everyone can help make this important journey to equality. Our individual actions, conversations, and mindsets can have an impact on wider society. Collectively, we can all help to create a gender-equal world.