Future Politics should be ‘guided’ by Girls
Marking the 60th anniversary of the Life Peerages Act 1958, Girlguiding arranged an amazing opportunity for girls across the country.
I was chosen as one of seven girls from North West England to shadow a female peer for a whole day at the House of Lords and learn about what women do in the UK Parliament. It showed me what it takes to help run the country and the impact female peers have.
As soon as I saw this amazing opportunity posted on the Girlguiding North West England Facebook page, I jumped at the chance. Knowing that this was the opportunity for me, I immediately applied. I was elated to know I had been accepted for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
I couldn’t wait for the day to arrive, and when it finally did, I got the train down to London and met up with some of the girls who were also participating. Meeting other girls with the same political passion as I was really uplifting.
We met up with the peer who we were shadowing and had our very own exclusive tour of the House of Lords – which was pretty exciting! My tour was with Baroness Fookes. It was incredibly inspiring to hear about her passions and how much she has achieved. I loved learning about her interest in horticulture and rural affairs, and how she uses that to drive change in parliament and beyond. It really illustrated how your passions and career can unite, to make a real difference.
As a geography student, I love to campaign for awareness about climate change, as it is such a prominent issue in our current society. Lady Fookes listened to my views which gave me the confidence to share with the other Lords. It was enriching to know that my voice was being heard and appreciated. The opportunity to shadow a female peer came at a perfect time; at the time we were sharing the importance of women in parliament with the Brownie unit that I help out at. My Brownies eagerly waited for my return so I could share what I did on the shadowing day. Seeing how excited the girls were about the day only fuelled my excitement.
What’s more – I was able to speak about my day at the Girlguiding North West England Region Conference – any opportunity to share my experience with the very people who make it possible.
Further to this, The UK Parliament Week Badge Pack was helpful as the girls were really involved and loved hearing about the current situation and need for women in politics. I love teaching the girls about how strong woman are, their importance, and the need for more female leaders.
I firmly believe that teaching girls’ empowerment from a young age is crucial – especially since the ratio of women to men in politics in the UK is less than 50%. I am always keen to get involved with politically themed opportunities like the parliament pack and anything else that helps introduce girls to important role models.
I believe that young people have an impact now more than ever. Even if it feels we are dismissed sometimes, we have a voice, we are creating an impact, and we will be heard. During this politically malleable time, voices of young people need to be heard, and voices of young women too.
The UK Parliament Week Pack has been a great resource to raise political awareness within establishments. It’s a massive hit here at Girlguiding North West England. It went down a treat with my Brownies who were engaged and ready to take action!
Seeing this new empowerment of young girls and women makes me very excited for the future; girls will be able to shape the world from an early age!
- By Jess Steer, 17, Manchester
Girlguiding North West England