Persons Day 2011

Every year in Canada we celebrate Persons Day on October 18th to commemorate the day when women were made persons under Canadian law following the Persons case.

As an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of girls and women Girl Guides of Canada recognizes the importance of Persons Day and promoting gender equality.  In fact, this year we’ve asked our membership to look at gender equality as part of our National Service Project: EmPower Girls.

Still one question I regularly get is “Why doesn’t GGC allow boys and men to join?

The answer is simple…

Girl Guides of Canada, as stated in our Mission and Vision, is an organization for girls and women and our commitment to remain an all-female organization is reaffirmed annually by our Board of Directors and it is stated in our bylaws that only girls and women may be Members of Girl Guides.

…yet complex.

GGC provides a safe and supportive climate that nurtures girls and encourages them to develop and pursue their goals.  Girls and women support one another, develop a respect for girls and women, value female friendship and role models, and learn more about their own strengths and abilities, as well as pride in their own gender. This is done in an environment that is free from the competition that is inherent in co-ed environments.

 This environment does not negate the important role of boys and men in the lives of girls or women.  Rather, it offers an alternative avenue of development that complements the many other influences girls and women find in all other aspects of their lives.

My question to you  – is there a place in today’s world for organizations like Guides that focus on a single gender? OR that is open only to girls and women?

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4 Responses to Persons Day 2011

  1. I think it’s deeply awesome that you acknowledge that the world “women” is a gender identity, and not a sex. It totally re-affirms that GGC welcomes all female identified people to join! Love it SO much! 😀

  2. I think that in today’s world it is MOST important that we have an organization like Girl Guides, that does focus on girls and women. When I think of how bombarded girls are these days with misleading facts, bullying and the amount of self esteem issues I hear about, we need to focus on the girl. By not doing so, we are not helping to grow productive, caregivers of themselves, potential children and our elderly, in the future.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I absolutely agree that it is important to have a place for girls & women. There are many studies even that support this kind of thinking and recommend that schools also be set up this way. Alternately I believe that Scouts should be just for boys. I am sure there are girls who play & interact more comfortably with boys but I think the boys also deserve their place where they can just be boys. I have only been a leader for 4 years and a bit and have seen how girls who otherwise might feel awkward or shy or different be accepted and seen as a valuable member of their group. I think these girls would be lost in a co-ed environment.

  4. Aolis says:

    I was just musing over this question.

    First we need to acknolwedge that there is a problem with gender discrimination in the world. Scouts and Girl Guides were setup as segregated because of this world view, not as affirmitive action against it. So continuing just because that is how it was setup is circular logic.

    You go onto provide reasons but they are not very persuasive. Shouldn’t men also develop a respect for women and value their leadership? How can they do that if isolated from them? Saying that “competition that is inherent in co-ed environments” implies that women don’t compete. But isn’t that a form of gender discrimination?

    Finally, what about the 1% of people who do not have clear gender identification? When the world is black or white, there isn’t much room for grey.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t a reason for affirmitive action, I just don’t think you have provided strong motivation for it.

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