The 2019 International Women’s Day theme for calls for a more gender balanced world. #BalanceForBetter encapsulates one of the basic underpinnings of the Girl Guides program: that when girls and young women are recognised for their contributions, the world opens up for all of us.
In a world weighted towards boys, girls-only spaces help to tip the balance towards equality. As a facilitator of girls-only spaces, Girl Guides has an important role to play in addressing the gender imbalance. Our female-dominated networks and online platforms enable us to share award opportunities with women and girls all over Victoria.
Award opportunities are an important part of Guiding. Our internal awards and pathways to awards, begin for girls as young as seven. As girls move through their Guiding life, awards are a significant part of the journey. Many of our Guides have been recognised for their work at the local, State and National levels including many who have received Australian Honours.
However, recently the Australian Honours committee identified the need for more awareness for women who would be good candidates for awards. While the proportion of women who receive Australian Honours reflects the proportion of female nominees, the overall number of women nominated is well below 50%.
When a women receives an award, it is a reflection of her hard work and unique achievements, however no woman is an island, and belonging to the Girl Guide community highlights this fact.We are a community of girls and women who support and uphold each other, and share encouragement and skills.
This is a crucial factor to consider when unpacking opportunities for gender equity in Australian Honours, because when one woman achieves success and recognition, it is not at the expense of others.
When one woman succeeds, we all do, because it sends an important message: if she is worthy of recognition, we are too.
By helping to ‘Better the Balance’ in Australian Honours, Girl Guides will help to send a message to our community and the wider community that women’s achievements are worth celebrating. We lift as we climb.
International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to reflect on our achievements – and those of our sisters. Nominating someone for an Australian Honour is a straightforward process. You can help to #BetterTheBalance by following the process at the Victorian Government #RecognitionMatters page.
Happy International Women’s Day.
Yours in Guiding,
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Guides Victoria