Brownie Leader, Amanda Buttress was inspired by the Girls Matter campaign. She made the online pledge, posted it to Twitter and Facebook and then looked into how she could take further action. She sent a letter to Lucy Frazer QC, Parliamentary Candidate for South East Cambridgeshire (Conservative) making her aware of the campaign and asking, on behalf of the 30 Brownies in the unit, if she would make the pledge herself and also come and talk to the girls.
Lucy, who was once a Brownie and a Guide, responded promptly and positively “How lovely to hear from you. I absolutely agree that the voices of young women should count and be heard. I am also passionate about empowering all young people and providing role models for young women. I would love to come to speak to your Brownies….”
For the first half of their meeting the Brownies carried out some of the activities from the Girls Matter: Hear Our Voice resource including a debate about the merits of various chocolate bars and on the topic of ‘What is the best film ever?’
They also held a mock election whereby several of the girls formed political parties, selected a leader and put forth short ‘election’ speeches (about why they would be the best candidate to choose all the games the unit would play at their meetings for the remainder of the term). A secret ballot was held and one party triumphed. They also discussed what would happen if you didn’t vote or if the parties consisted of all boys or more boys than girls.
Then Ms Frazer arrived. She spoke to the girls about experiences in her life. She talked about why she went into politics; to make a difference and to help people.
She spoke with the girls about important, influential and powerful women including Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragettes, Malala Yousafzai, Angela Merkel, Margaret Thatcher and J K Rowling.
Lara, aged 9 said “I learnt about amazing women who fought to help other women have the same rights as men. I was shocked that in other countries girls can’t go to school or even get a job!”
Lucy asked the girls about their future aspirations and got varied and ambitious responses which included several scientists and sportswomen. She made herself accessible and approachable and the girls were happy to ask questions. They asked her why she thought she was chosen to be Head Girl, if she had met David Cameron and been to the Houses of Parliament, about funding for Cambridgeshire schools and about removing ‘bad stuff’ from the internet.
Parent helper, Kirsty, was very impressed with how Lucy pitched the talk at the right level for the girls. She had a key message about them all being brilliant in their own way and kept reinforcing that message throughout her talk. She kept them engaged and interested throughout.
Lily, aged 8 said “It was interesting to hear what Lucy said. I liked hearing about the important women. Lucy answered my questions clearly and I am glad she is trying to get more money for my school. I liked hearing about her life.”