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Girls and Women in Scouts

Scouting is the largest mixed youth organisation in the UK.

Individuals of all genders are encouraged to join in all adventurous opportunities in Scouts. As with all young people, if needed, reasonable adjustments should be made to make your meeting place and activities accessible and inclusive.

Including people of all genders in your group is one way to increase understanding of acceptance of different genders and gender identity. Programme resources can also support this and it’s important that Scouts don’t shy away from issues that impact on individuals of different genders in our society.

Scouting on International Women's Day

Women in Scouting are nothing new: we’ve always had female Leaders and now Scouting is fully mixed. International Women's Day is the perfect time to celebrate girls and women currently in Scouting.

International Women's Day, celebrated annually on March 8, is the global day connecting all women around the world and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. It celebrates the collective power of women past, present and future.

Girls first joined the Scout Movement in 1976 as Venture Scouts, the Section which previously catered for 15-20 year olds. In 1991 UK Scouting became fully mixed, and on 1 January 2007 it became compulsory for all Groups to ensure provisions were in place to accept girls into all Sections.

Sian Parton, Beaver Scout Leader with 6th Bilston Scout Group, was one of the first Scouts to join her Group in 1991 and has stayed there ever since:

‘I was 11 at the time and joined at the first opportunity because I wanted more adventurous things to do. We would often be at local events and someone would address us as boys, either because they forgot girls were there or because they naturally used the term – I never took offence at this, but I always enjoyed correcting them!

All the boys in my Troop were brilliant and really looked out for us. I think there used to be Leaders who believed girls could never do what the boys did, and that we were never going to be capable of doing an assault course or getting our hands dirty, but I have been on camps when the girls have not even had a wash and brushed their hair and the lads are having showers and smelling of aftershave!

‘Being among one of the first girls in our Group I can honestly say we all gave 100 per cent to our Scouting and proved a lot of people wrong. Our Group continues to have a successful mix of both boys and girls and has done for many, many years.

‘I believe girls joining Scouting was a positive step for the whole Movement – there are lots of reasons for this, but I think the main one has made Scouting accessible to all. I think it’s also boosted numbers in many parts of the country (we have had more girls than boys in our Section sometimes) and I think it made the Scouts more appealing and modern.’

Read how the Scouts are tackling period stigma and period poverty

Read the blog

History of Girls in Scouting

Learn more about the history

Young Women at the World Scout Jamboree

What to know more about how girls can be involved in Scouting? Read these inspirational stories. 

Young Women at the World Scout Jamboree