Girl Guides of Canada says it will stop calling members “brownies” because “racialized” girls have been “harmed.”

The Girl Guides of Canada said in one Notice Tuesday that it will stop using the term “brownies” because “racialized” girls have said the name harms them.

The organization explained that many girls have been discouraged from joining due to the current meaning of the term.

We’ve heard from members and former members that the name Brownies has done them harm as racialized (Black, Indigenous, and Colored) girls and women. Some don’t want to be part of this industry because of the name. Some girls skip this branch altogether or defer joining Girl Guides until after this branch. This branch name is a barrier to racialized girls and women feeling part of the Guiding sorority, and we cannot use a word that would harm a girl.

The designation was applied to the Girl Guides branch with members aged 7 and 8 years.

The decision was made by the group’s board of directors, which solicited input from various community organizations. They offered counseling to any Brownie members who had caused racism or harm to others because of the branch’s name.

The organization said that the current members will decide which denomination to replace the brownies with and this will be announced in January 2023.

“The names we use in Girl Guides are important. But girls are more important,” the group said added.

In the US, Boy Scouts decided in 2018 to change the name of a program to make it easier for girls to participate. The program for Boy Scouts between the ages of 7 and 10 was changed from the “Boy Scouts” to simply the Scouts BSA to be more gender specific. The move sparked a feud with the Girl Scouts, who said they were caught off guard by the decision.

Here’s a story about an accomplished brownie:

Rare achievement for determined brownie Girl Guides of Canada says it will stop calling members “brownies” because “racialized” girls have been “harmed.”

Laura Coffey

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