Girl Guides of Canada to rename Brownies after hearing that the name causes harm

The Girl Scouts of Canada plans to rename the Brownies, saying it has heard from several current and former members that the name took a toll on them.

Chief executive Jill Zelmanovits said they were changing the name to further remove barriers to belonging for racialized girls and women.

“It is clear that this change is the right thing to do – Girl Scouts cannot be represented in terms that are harmful to girls,” Zelmanovits said in a statement Tuesday.

“Girl Scouts’ commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion requires us to listen to the lived experiences of racialized girls and act to defend those commitments,” she said. “No part of Guiding should be harmful to the girls we serve.”

The group said the change would take effect in September 2023.

Brownies, the section of Girl Guides for 7 and 8 year old girls, teaches outdoor safety, camping basics, gardening, building with tools and conflict management while fostering healthy friendships.

Girl Scouts of Canada said it was consulting with racialized members to finalize the new name.

Founded in 1910, the Girl Scouts of Canada have taken more inclusive steps in recent years, allowing transgender girls to participate in the program in 2015 and administering a new T-shirt uniform in 2019.

— Angela Amato, Canadian Press

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