From Girl Guides Australia (Acting) Chief Commissioner, Rosemary Derwin:
Dear Guiding Community,
You may have seen stories in the media this weekend about the Girl Guides Australia Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
For over 110 years, Girls Guides has empowered girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting, responsible community members. This has been achieved with a commitment to diversity and inclusion for all our members.
The leadership group of Guiding in Australia includes trained volunteer managers and leaders with many years of experience. These dedicated volunteers put the safety and well-being of our Guides at the forefront of everything they do.
The Girl Guides Australia (GGA) Diversity and Inclusion Policy is the result of much in-depth work across our organisation. We have aligned the policy with state and federal anti-discrimination and equal opportunity law. This means that ‘girls and women’ who identify as, and live in the community, as females will be welcomed into our organisation.
This policy is the commitment of Australian Guiding to diversity and inclusion that benefits the Australian community.
Time and again, research has shown vulnerable children need support.
In 2017, the Trans Pathway survey which measures the mental health of trans young people found that trans young people are also 10 times more likely to suffer from serious depression and anxiety than other young Australians.
Guiding in Australia offers an environment where young people can be supported and encouraged to believe in themselves. The Australian Guide Program offers a non-formal educational program that is dynamic and flexible while offering values- based training in life skills, decision making and leadership.
We are committed to providing a respectful, open and safe environment where:
- All people are treated equitably and with mutual respect regardless of their background, ethnicity, culture, language, beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, level of ability, additional needs, family structure or lifestyle; and
- Inclusive practices actively support diversity and counteract bias and prejudice.
With regard to the weekend’s media stories we wish to clarify that:
- Girl Guides provide child safe environments for all camps and events;
- There is always strict and ongoing supervision of the sleeping arrangements and bathroom arrangements at Girl Guide camps and events;
- All bathrooms have individual cubicles for toilets and showers; everyone showers and uses facilities separately and has their privacy protected; and
- Guide Leaders are always present to supervise as per safety requirements.
We know that you will continue to support us to offer an environment where young people can be supported and encouraged to believe in themselves and be their best selves.
We also understand some of you may have some questions or concerns about the policy. If you have any questions or concerns we encourage you to email us.
As always, we thank you for your tireless support.