Letter: Guide to why girls should join the Scouts

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Sir: I have been most interested to read the report by Nick Cohen ('Guides stick to single-sex decision', 1 July) on the decisions of the Girl Guides Association to launch its vision statement and to change its name.

We in the Scouts admire wholeheartedly the manner in which the Girl Guides operate a programme for so many girls, and we respect its decision to continue as a single- sex organisation for girls and young women, led by women. It is the policy of both associations to co-operate in providing joint activities for boys and girls whenever appropriate.

I write, though, to take issue with the comment attributed by Mr Cohen, perhaps incorrectly, to 'senior Guides' that the decision of the Scouts to admit girls has been a 'disaster', since nothing could be further from the truth. Such a comment reveals a profound misunderstanding of our intentions in enabling girls to join the Scouts.

While we agree that very many girls will achieve their full potential in a girls-only setting, we also recognise that some will do so in a co-educational setting, and that many boys will develop more appropriate attitudes to the opposite sex in the same programme.

At this stage, the numbers of girls who have joined the Scouts are small, and they may well remain so. Those girls who do choose to join us are very welcome and will be given every encouragement to acquire the attributes of a good Scout.

Yours faithfully,


Chief Scout

The Scout Association

Baden-Powell House

London, SW7

1 July