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Leading Female Politicians Back GIRLGUIDING SCOTLAND & WOMEN 50:50'S New Campaign

8th March 2018

Photograph of Leading Female Politicians Back GIRLGUIDING SCOTLAND & WOMEN 50:50'S New Campaign

SCOTLAND'S LEADING FEMALE POLITICIANS BACK GIRLGUIDING SCOTLAND & WOMEN 50:50'S NEW CAMPAIGN TO EMPOWER GIRLS TO LEAD.

Girlguiding Scotland, the leading charity for girls in Scotland, has joined forces with leading equality campaign group Women 50:50 to launch Citizen Girl, a new initiative to inspire the next generation of female leaders.
As part of celebrations marking Scotland's Year of Young People and 100 years since some women first gained the right to vote, Citizen Girl aims to engage girls in politics and show them how powerful their voices can be.
Citizen Girl has been endorsed by female leaders from across the political spectrum including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, former Labour Leader and Women 50:50 co-founder Kezia Dugdale and Scottish Conservatives Leader Ruth Davidson.

Girlguiding Scotland has launched a new badge and challenge pack to its near 50,000 young members to explore why their voice matters and encourage girls to think about becoming a political leader

As part of Citizen Girl, Girlguiding Scotland is calling for:
Political parties to commit to gender equality by putting forward 50% female candidates in local, Scottish and UK elections
Politicians at all levels to consult with young people on all of the decisions that impact their lives
Businesses, public bodies, and voluntary organisations in Scotland to commit to increasing female representation in management and creating opportunities for the next generation of girls to take the lead
Girlguiding Scotland and Women 50:50 have launched a new campaign, with backing from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, former Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale and Scottish Conservatives Leader Ruth Davidson to create a more equal future for girls and young women in Scotland.

The new campaign, Citizen Girl, aims to empower girls of all ages to explore why their voice matters and encourage more girls and young women to consider becoming political leaders.

As the leading charity for girls and young women in the country, Girlguiding Scotland, hopes it's near 50,000 members age 5-25 will take on the Citizen Girl challenge and explore themes of equality and representation through fun activities - from building their own edible parliament to holding their own Citizen Girl summit.

Citizen Girl follows recent research by Girlguiding which highlights that, despite recent progress, girls continue to feel under-represented in politics with more than one in two girls age 11-21 saying politicians don’t understand the issues facing girls and young women today, while over half think political parties should make sure 50% of all their politicians are female.

The same research also highlighted the impact persistent gender stereotypes continue to have, with more than half of girls age 7-21 saying these stereotypes impact some aspect of their lives including their ability to say what they think, how they behave with their peers and even how likely they are to speak up in class.

Citizen Girl aims to challenge the stereotypes that can hold girls back from speaking out and engaging in politics and inspire a new generation to take the lead, now, and in the future.

As part of the charity’s celebrations to mark Scotland’s Year of Young People and the 100th anniversary since the first women gained the right to vote in the UK, Girlguiding Scotland is calling for meaningful change help create a more equal future for girls and young women. Citizen Girl calls for:

Political parties to commit to gender equality by putting forward 50% female candidates in local, Scottish and UK elections
Politicians at all levels to consult with young people on all of the decisions that impact their lives
Businesses, public bodies, voluntary organisations in Scotland to commit to increasing female representation in management and creating opportunities for the next generation of girls to take the lead
Leaders from across Scotland’s political spectrum have backed the campaign.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Organisations such as Girlguiding Scotland play a vital role in ensuring that the voices of young women and girls are heard and acted on.

"Citizen Girl is an initiative that I warmly welcome. It will create new opportunities for girls and young women to shine locally and nationally.

"The Scottish Government is committed to tackling gender inequality and celebrating the many and valued contributions of young women and girls, in Scotland."

Labour MSP and Women 50:50 co-founder Kezia Dugdale said: "A century on from some women receiving the vote for the first time, women remain underrepresented in positions of influence in Scotland, giving them unequal access to power, decision-making and participation throughout public life. That simply has to change.

“I’m delighted to back the Citizen Girl initiative, and I look forward to engaging with the next generation of female leaders and encouraging them to use their voices to speak up.

“I am proud of Labour’s approach to candidate selection, but all political parties still need to make further progress on this issue, particularly at local authority level, because we can’t wait 100 more years for gender equality.

We need it now, and thanks to the incredible work of organisations such as Girlguiding Scotland and Women 50:50, I believe we can secure natural justice for women and end this block to economic progress."

Ruth Davidson, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: ““The first women to win the vote did so 100 years ago and this anniversary affords us the chance to see how far we’ve come - and how far we’ve still got to go.

“Gender blind recruitment and promotion, closing the gender pay gap and empowering more female leaders are some of the essential next steps.

“I congratulate Girlguiding Scotland on the launch of Citizen Girl - every young woman should feel empowered to find her own voice and this campaign will help achieve that".

Talat Yaqoob, Co-founder of Women 50:50 said: “100 years ago the first women gained the right to vote after a hard-fought campaign; it would take another decade before all women gained the same voting rights as men.

Since then women have made incredible strides as we push for equal representation yet women continue to make up only around a third of the Scottish and UK Parliament. At its current rate it will take another 50 years before we achieve equal representation.

“Citizen Girl is about celebrating how far we’ve come while empowering the next generation to take the lead. By showing girls, early on, just how powerful their voices are, we can help create a more equal future for girls and young women in Scotland.

Women 50:50 are delighted to be a part of Citizen Girl and we can’t wait to see what these inspiring young women achieve when they make their voices heard."

Hannah Brisbane, 21, Girlguiding Scotland’s Lead Volunteer for Voice, said: “With it being 100 years since the first group of women won the right to vote in the UK it is disappointing that women are still underrepresented in the political process.

Our research tells us that girls feel like politicians don’t listen and don’t understand their problems. Citizen Girl gives us an exciting opportunity to address these issues during this centenary year and Scotland’s Year of Young People.

By empowering girls to use their voice we are creating a more equal future that is long overdue. Every girl deserves the right to have their voice heard and this is what Citizen Girl is all about.”

As the leading charity for girls and young women Scotland, Girlguiding Scotland is offers girls age 5-25 a safe space to enjoy new experiences, learn new skills and grow in confidence - from camping to campaigning, social action to international travel.

Girlguiding Scotland is always looking for new volunteers to help inspire and empower girls – find out how you can get involve at www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/get-involved

PHOTO
Emma Ritch, Women 50:50 board member and Director of Engender, and Talat Yaqoob, Co-founder of Women 50:50, with Girlguiding Scotland members launching Citizen Girl

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