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Scouts announce first woman leader

This news post is over 8 years old

​Scouts get serious about encouraging more girls into their ranks

For the first time in its 108 year history the Scouts has chosen a woman as its leader.

Ann Limb, 62, a former senior civil servant and teacher, is to be the Scout Association’s first female chair.

And her first priority is to get more girls to sign up to its ranks.

The daughter of a butcher who grew up in Manchester’s Moss Side district, Limb said she wants the Scouts to become a role model for both young boys and girls.

She said: “We want to grow the numbers of girls and young women, and scouting has to reflect society. When I was young, there was a certain type of person who went to Brownies or Guides or Scouts. That is changing.”

Unless young boys understand what it’s like to be a young woman then you won’t get them to change their behaviour

The decision to elect Limb as chair was a unanimous decision by the board of trustees.

Already there are more than 500,000 children signed up as Scouts in the UK, although only around a fifth of them are girls.

Keen to attract a more modern image, the organisation elected Bear Grylls as Chief Scout as part of its new drive to cement its reputation for fun and adventure but also to do more in communities.

“We want to be a more inclusive movement in a more diverse movement,” said Limb.

“It’s about growth and it would be nice to see a million Scouts.

“The position of young girls and women is such at the moment that unless young boys understand what it’s like to be a young woman then you won’t get them to change their behaviour.”

“We also have to challenge the corporate world to engage more with volunteering. We need a cultural change. Being in the Brownies when I was a child made a huge difference to me; it taught me self-esteem, gave me a belief in myself. It wasn’t like school; it didn’t matter if you failed, you could have another go.

“But the most impressive thing was that I saw women who gave up their time to help. If people give up their time to do something for you, that’s a very powerful experience,” she said.



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Vicki Hambly
over 8 years ago
Approximately a quarter of UK Scouts are female. So about 100,000. Add that to the 500,000 Guides and that is 600,000 girls active in Baden-Powell's two movements. But only 400,000 boys. It's not the girls she needs to worry about. Where are the boys?
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