The Girl Guides of Canada said in an announcement Tuesday that it is discontinuing the use of the “brownies” designation because “racialized” girls have said that the name harms them.
The organization explained that many girls were discouraged from joining because of the current meaning surrounding the term.
We have 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. Some do not want to be part of this branch because of the name. Some girls choose to skip this branch altogether or delay joining Girl Guides until after this branch. 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 designation was applied to the branch of Girl Guides with members aged 7 and 8 years old.
The decision was made by the group’s board of directors, who sought input from various community organizations. They offered counseling to any Brownie members who had experienced racism or other harm because of the name of the branch.
The organization said that current members will decide on what designation to replace the Brownies with, and it will be announced in January 2023.
“The names that we use in Girl Guides matter. But girls matter more,” the group added.
In the U.S., the Boy Scouts decided in 2018 to change a program’s name in order to make girls more comfortable with joining up. The program for scouts between the ages of 7 and 10 years old was changed from the “Boy Scouts” to simply the Scouts BSA to be more gender inclusive. The move sparked a feud with the Girl Scouts, who said they were blindsided by the decision.
Here’s a story about an accomplished Brownie:
Rare accomplishment for determined Brownie