Skip to content

Created: 1910

Where: London

Scale: Largest girl-only youth organisation in the UK

After the first Boy Scouts rally at the Crystal Palace in 1909, Robert Baden-Powell noticed that girls existed too and were jolly keen to be part of his movement. In response, he founded the Girl Guides and appointed his somewhat reluctant sister, Agnes Baden-Powell, to lead the fledgling organisation.

Despite her initial hesitance to head the movement, Agnes co-authored the first handbook for Girl Guiding, snappily titled How Girls can help to build up the Empire, and the movement continued to grow exponentially, under the stewardship of Robert’s wife Olave, throughout the 20th century.

Originally founded as an overtly Christian and patriotic organisation, Girlguiding has undergone many changes to keep up with the times – in the UK, as of 2013, new Brownies no longer have to vow commitment to God, and in 2012, both God and the Queen were dropped from the Australian girlguiding promise.

Indeed, the movement is now truly global – there are millions of Guides worldwide attending weekly groups run by volunteers, with over half a million members in the UK alone.