I am one of a kind. And I am also one of 10 million. I stand together with the 10 million girls and women in Guiding around the world who are making our mark and fighting for gender equality.
Attending the recent 36th World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Conference in India gave me the chance to see what it truly means to be a part of the ONLY global Movement for every girl and any girl. In 150 countries, Girl Guiding is the place where girls’ interests and the issues that matter to them are front and centre. This is our space and we’re making it count.
At the conference, I watched in the emotion-filled moments as new countries joined WAGGGS. Countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Aruba and war-torn Syria, where girls are coming together for sessions on self-esteem and gender-based violence. I stood in solidarity with my fellow youth delegates as we moved our own motion to include more young members in the global decision-making processes of WAGGGS. And I was continually inspired by the strong women who devote their time to Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting. Together, we are united in creating safe and inclusive spaces for all girls around the world.
Being part of the WAGGGS World Conference gave me the chance to connect with young women representing a multitude of nationalities, cultures, languages, and worldviews. We asked questions, learned from each other, and ultimately formed connections that I know will stay with me as I continue to carve out my place in this world. But what truly blew my mind was that no matter how many differences we may appear to have, we all shared a common passion and mission for girls’ rights, education, and success. The courageous girls and women I met at the event are working tirelessly for the change they want to see in the world.
As I was growing up and a member of a rural Guiding unit in Nova Scotia, Aline was simultaneously doing the same in Burundi, Andrea was doing so in Cyprus, Katrine in Denmark, Alyssa in Barbados, Yoshika in Japan… and the list goes on. The exact activities we did in our respective countries may have been different, but they all resulted in shared values and belief in the power of girls to be a positive force in changing the world for the better. In a world where many things seem to divide us, I am ever so thankful for the global Movement of WAGGGS that unites girls and women.
Guest post by Janice Noble. Originally from Nova Scotia, Janice is now a Guider in Fredericton and is completing her undergraduate degree in Interdisplinary Leadership at UNB.