A senior Girl Guide, who started out as a Brownie in Falkirk, is in New York this month pushing for equality on behalf of millions of women and young girls.
Emma Guthrie (26), who is originally from Shieldhill, is attending a United Nations event in the United States after being selected to represent the charity at the 61st session of the Status of Women (CSW) conference.
Emma, who works as a solicitor in Edinburgh where she now lives, will add her voice to those demanding access to education for all girls and tackling gender stereotypes that limit girls’ and womens’ future career choices.
Emma, who is part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) youth delegation at the conference, is one of 11 delegates from all over the world including Chile, New Zealand, Uganda and Madagascar – but the sole representative for Girlguiding Scotland.
“This is the first time I have attended the CSW,” said Emma.
“CSW is the principal global policy-making body specifically related to gender equality and the advancement of women.
“It meets every year to discuss policies, current themes and processes and aims to agree outcomes which all the member states work towards.
“The theme for this year is women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. I represent the WAGGGS and we represent 10 million girls and young women in 146 countries around the world.
“I am there to advocate for the rights of girls and young women and directly engage with decision makers.
“I’m really excited to represent the voice of our members.
“We aim to empower girls and young women to reach their fullest potential and I believe we have an important part to play in CSW in representing girls and young women.
“I hope to engage with decision makers, where possible, on the issues which matter to WAGGGS and its many members.
“I am also excited to share ideas and develop my understanding of key issues.”
During her time in New York, Emma has attended meetings with key decision makers and helped run events on subjects including ending discrimination in the workplace and gender stereotypes.
Her visit to New York is one of several overseas trips in recent years including a three-week adventure in Armenia in 2013.
The excursion to the former Soviet state was used to spread the word about Girl Guiding and encourage girls and young women to join local groups.
Emma began her journey in Girlguiding Scotland with the 1st Shieldhill Brownies when she was just seven years old.
The former Braes High School pupil is now a leader with 1st Stockbridge Senior Section in Edinburgh, a member of Girlguiding Scotland’s international team and a trustee for Girlguiding Scotland.
Emma’s mum, Fiona Guthrie, a principal teacher at Easter Carmuirs Primary School, said: “Emma was desperate to go to Brownies when she was seven and she has been involved ever since.
“She works so hard and gives up so much of her time but she just loves it.
“She loves the confidence it gives girls and the opportunities it gives them to explore other countries and be whoever they want to be.
“Emma feels she really is making a difference and can make a difference for other girls through inspiration and achievement.
“There is amazing work going on at the United Nations conference with topics such as gender equality, economic empowerment of women and changing the world of work.
“They say that leaders are not born, they are created, and a lot of it is about using education as a way for all young people to reach their full potential.”
Girlguiding Scotland is the country’s leading charity for girls and young women, offering them new experiences, the chance to grow in confidence, discover their full potential and be a force for good in the world.
The charity offers a varied programme for those aged five to 25, including everything from camping to campaigning and outdoor adventure to social action.
To find out more about joining in the fun and adventure of Girlguiding Scotland – as a young member or an adult volunteer – visit www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/get-involved.