Girl guides #BreakTheBias

First Portland brownie Qaniah Petersen, 8, from Westridge, demonstrates the #BreakTheBias sign.

First Portland Girl Guides joined 10 million members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) in marking International Women’s Day on Tuesday March 8.

This year’s theme was #BreakTheBias.

Girl Guides South Africa national board member for educational programme Michelle February, from Colorado Park, said the date is an important one for women, as it is dedicated to celebrating progress, raising awareness as well as showcasing a commitment to gender equality.

“It’s about shining a light on the women and girls who make up our movement and how amazing they all are.

“As one of the chosen charity partners of International Women’s Day, WAGGGS is excited to partner with individuals and organisations, who like us, want to use International Women’s Day to accelerate progress on gender equality,” she said.

Portland Girl Guides forms part of the Cape West region, within Girl Guides South Africa, which is a member organisation of WAGGGS.

First Portland Girl Guide Harley May, 10, from Strandfontein.

Young women around the world were asked to imagine a life free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.

“Discrimination and bias are issues that girls and young women face every day.

“Bias is defined as prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair,” said Ms February.

The Portland Girl Guides met to discuss these issues, including statements like “you can’t play soccer because you are a girl”; “girls aren’t smart enough to play chess”; “girls can’t wear a suit for casual days, they should wear dresses”; “Women can’t be the boss of a company”; and “why do you want to be a mechanic? It is only for men and not women.”

Ms February said women have a key role to play in raising awareness of the barriers that impact the advancement of women and girls.

The girl guides have joined the #BreakTheBias social media advocacy campaign and will be learning more about the need to challenge gender stereotypes and bias.