Girl Guides of Canada dropping ‘Brownies’ name to be more inclusive

Girl Guides of Canada announced it is renaming the Brownies program for 7-and-8-year-olds to be more inclusive.

“Taking this step means we are creating more inclusive spaces where racialized girls in Canada can feel welcome and proud to belong in Girl Guides,” the organization said in a statement. “With this change, we hope even more girls will see Guiding as a space where they can just be themselves.”

Girl Guides of Canada says it heard from members and former members that the name ‘Brownies’ has caused them harm as racialized (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) girls and women and that some did not want to be part of this branch because of the name.

“This branch name is a barrier to racialized girls and women feeling part of the Guiding sisterhood and we cannot use a word that causes any girl harm,” the online statement read. “Part of the Girl Guide Promise is to ‘take action for a better world.’ Taking action by updating this branch name is an important step in creating a space where every girl feels that she belongs in Girl Guides.”

What will be the new name?

The organization says Girl Guide members will have a unique opportunity to take action and shape the future of Guiding by having their say on the new branch name. In late November, members will be invited to help choose from a shortlist of two names. 

“The shortlisted names are inclusive, fun, and reflect how girls see themselves in Guiding. These names came from themes which were developed in consultation with racialized girls in Guiding, the National Indigenous Advisory Circle, community partners and organizations, as well as GGC National Youth Council, Provincial Commissioners and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Facilitators,” the statement added.

The new branch name will be announced late January.

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