Scouts: Girls overtake boys in admissions

Beaver Scouts The association made it compulsory for all UK groups to accept girls in all age ranges in 2007

More girls than boys became scouts in the past year - the first time this has happened in the movement's history.

Some 4,330 girls and 3,796 boys joined between January 2010 and January 2011.

Female youth membership has risen by 6.9% in the past year and by 88% since 2005. Older girls were first allowed to join in 1976 but since 2007 girls have been allowed in all age groups.

Proportion of girls and boys in scouts

The Scout Association also said that it now had a waiting list of nearly 33,500 youngsters wanting to join.

Some areas have seen a particularly high number of girls join up, the association added.

For example, more than twice as many girls as boys have signed up in Cambridgeshire.

But despite this growth, boys in the scouts still outnumber girls by over five to one.

Total membership, which includes adult members, has grown 14% from 444,059 in 2005 to 507,867 this year.

There are now 66,576 girls in the scouting movement, compared with 35,406 in 2005.

This increase stands in comparison to a 7.7% rise for boys, from 321,210 to 346,043.

'No surprise'

Timeline: Girls in scouting

  • 1976: girls allowed to join venture scouts, age range 15 to 20, but not younger groups
  • 1990: girls may join any age range in some UK scout groups - but not all groups sign up
  • 2007: in its centenary year, the Scout Association decrees that girls may join any UK scout group

The association, which has allowed girls to join the top age range since 1976, says it needs more adult scout leaders to cope with the demand.

In 1990 girls were allowed to join all age ranges in some UK scout groups, but it was not until 2007 that the association ruled that girls may join any UK scout group, in any age range.

Chief Scout Bear Grylls said he thought it was "great" that more girls were joining.

"Being a Scout represents all that is great about life: adventure, life skills and friendship," he added.

"It is no surprise that so many girls are wanting to be part of that."

Girlguiding UK, a separate organisation for girls and young women only, says it has about half a million members, including about 100,000 adult volunteers.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    I have brilliant memories of scouts,having spent weekends and summers away doing amazing things. I was one of a few girls in the troup, and it was great team building with all kinds of kids really helped me, i benefited from hands on activities. Were all treated equally, it was still very boy orientated and challenging. I didn't enjoy guides, it was mostly cooking and sewing. Let kids choose !

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    Yeah, Scouts was great. The trips away were awesome too. There was only one girl when I was at cubs, I think this was when they were introducing girls into it. Most of the girls that were at my group came in when I was at Explorers. I guess it's that age where we loved girls coming in. At Explorers we did all sorts like navigation, boat steering. It was simply marvellous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    How terribly sad. One imagines that the drive to get girls into the scouts is the result of politically correct parents wishing to make a point about equality rather than the girls themselves. Boys are now educated until age 11 in a completely feminised environment (almost all primary teachers are women). Many boys from broken homes have no male role model at all. How do they learn to be male?

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    More excuse to moan and gripe. Why are we not celebrating the fact that more young people are socialising and doing constructive things instead of watching dross on TV or playing mindless games! Can't win with some folk!

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    the battle of the sexes is over.wimmin won.


Comments 5 of 87


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