Girlguiding Advocates have recently been attending All Party Political Groupings (APPGs) on Youth Affairs at the Houses of Parliament for the three main political parties. The Youth Affairs APPGs are an opportunity to compare policies from each party that are relevant to Girlguiding members.
Mathilde, a member of The Senior Section from Wisbech says: “We as Advocates are asking politicians what they plan to change and improve for young women and girls. I was lucky enough to be picked to attend the Liberal Democrats APPG, which was held in the Wilson Room at Portcullis House (basically opposite from the Houses of Parliament and the office for most MPs). The room was full to bursting with young people representing a huge range of organisations. For the first half hour the chair, Labour MP July Hilling, asked us to discus with one another questions we wished to ask and categorise them into different sections such as education and democracy. There were then short speeches from the President of the Liberal Democrats, Sal Brinton; the MP for Norwich South, Simon Wright; and the Chair of Liberal Youth, Alex Harding.
Baroness Sal Brinton spoke about the party’s ethos, whilst MP Simon Wright spoke about what the Liberal Democrats have achieved since they have been in coalition with the Conservatives. Alex Harding spoke about what youth work he does and why he is passionate about it. For the next hour attendees asked Simon Wright and Sal Brinton different questions. I asked about the Liberal Democrats plans on making SRE (Sex Relationship Education) and PSHE (Personal Social Health Education) compulsory in all school. Ashvini, an Advocate from London, asked how they planned to get more young women and girls involved in politics. Both questions were later tweeted about by other organisations and many of those organisations were interested in the statistics we quoted about how young women and girls feel about politics (over 1 in 5 of girls don’t consider themselves to be interested in politics). The Liberal Democrats are fully supportive of the Girls Matter call for compulsory SRE and PSHE education and they plan to increase children’s awareness and involvement by including education about politics in the school curriculum. There were many other interesting questions asked about topics such as making the transition from different levels of education to the next or to life smoother, as well as how to improve the voting system and what forms of devolution the Liberal Democrats would use. Overall it was very interesting to hear how the people in power want to change the world our girls live in to make it fairer and better.”