Girlguiding is all about the girl, so we are very proud of 8th Maghull Brownies for speaking out on an issue that they felt strongly about and asking Girlguiding to make a change… Girls speak, then we listen and act – all girls in Girlguiding get the chance to choose what they do…
In 2019 the Brownies attended a joint activity day with their local Cubs, The Cubs were able to take part in axe throwing but the Brownies weren’t as it wasn’t a recognised Girlguiding activity so as part of UK Parliament Week the Brownies wrote to HQ to explain that this wasn’t fair. Their letter was answered and Girlguiding said that they would discuss the issue with their insurers and get back to them. In early 2020 there was a rumour that axe throwing was about to become a recognised Girlguiding activity and then the COVID pandemic happened.
But this didn’t mean the matter had been forgotten… and on May 5th, 2021, the Girlguiding activity page was updated, and axe throwing is now listed as a recognised activity for girls aged 5+
– Please remember that if you wish to try this activity to follow the guidance available at this link and ensure that the person leading the activity is suitably qualified: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/what-we-do/our-badges-and-activities/adventure-for-girls/axe-throwing/
8th Maghull (St Andrew’s) Brownies
Wednesday 22nd May 2019
Dear Members of Girlguiding,
C.C. Amanda Medler, Chief Guide,
Angela Salt, Chief Executive,
Catherine Irwin, Chair of the Board of Trustees
We, the members of 8th Maghull St Andrew’s Brownies, would like to raise a concern/ complaint and request a change to the following regulations:
Prohibited activities at joint events
Members should not do any of Girlguiding’s prohibited activities at joint events. If planning an event, make sure you don’t include activities banned by any organisation involved.
However, if activities prohibited by Girlguiding are happening at an event, it’s fine to attend as long as guiding members don’t join in with those activities.
On 23rd April 2019 our Brownie unit attended a joint event with the local Scouting units to celebrate St George’s Day. This provided to be an exciting and fun-filled day with one exception. Our Brownies were incredibly disappointed to find that they were not permitted to take part in either the axe throwing or the shooting activities, and, although it was explained to them that it was either because adequate safety requirements have not yet been developed or because Girlguiding feels that the activities do not fit in with the aims and objectives of guiding, the Brownies struggled to comprehend this whilst watching their classmates (both male and female) in Beavers and Cubs be able to complete these activities.
In the weeks following the event the Brownies have been working towards the UK Parliament Badge in relation to the recent elections. Last week saw us look at voting, including how voting can influence change. A variety of topics were discussed, for example – should fidget spinners be allowed in school, with debates being held to consider for and against.
One of the topics the Brownies chose to debate was whether it was fair that axe throwing and shooting should be prohibited in Girlguiding. A lively discussion took place, with girls being able to air their personal views, both for and against the restrictions. Following this the girls were given the opportunity to cast their vote confidentially using the ballot box, with the outcome being shared at the end of the meeting.
Out of 25 responses, 80% felt that it was unfair that Girlguiding prohibited girls from axe throwing and shooting activities with 20% feeling that it was right to have these prohibitions in place.
Comments were as follows:
“We should have a choice”
“They don’t have the right to take away our right to choose”
“It’s not fair that we are treated differently”
“We want to do the things that Cubs can do”
“Girls should get a chance at everything”
“Girls are just as capable as boys”
“We should be able to do activities such as axe throwing and shooting because we are no different to Scouting in any capacity at all”
“If you don’t want to do it then you don’t have to do it but you should be able to choose”
“If the girls want to try it and they’re not allowed it’s just not fair”
Following the outcome the Brownies were asked what they would like to happen next, with the overall consensus being to share this with you, the Leaders of Girlguiding, in a request for you to hear our voices, listen and take action.
We therefore propose for the activities listed below to be removed from the list of prohibited activities and to be covered by Girlguiding insurance policies;
Axe throwing – this includes any activity that involves throwing axes, knives, tomahawks, swords or similar weapons at a target.
May I take this opportunity to thank you in anticipation for your response, and to close on a statement that is close to all of our hearts;
Whoever they are, wherever they’re from, girls and young women can do amazing things – we give them the chance.
Yours faithfully in Guiding,
Alison Murray (Guider in Charge)
and the following 8th Maghull Brownies:
And the reply from HQ…