Photo Courtesy of  © National Portrait Gallery, London
Lady Baden Powell in 1916: Photo Courtesy of
© National Portrait Gallery, London, made by Vandyk

Lady Baden Powell is the eminent person I will be studying for the next four weeks. In my opinion, she is a fantabulous person who showed persistence and dignity while struggling against gender inequality; she helped empower many girls and provided a strong female role model for them.

Born in 1889, Mrs. Baden Powell was an Englishwoman. Her father was a brewer and artist, and because he moved from place to place with his work, she was schooled by private governess who travelled with her. As a girl, Mrs. Baden Powell loved outdoor sports and enjoyed playing the violin, much like I do. In fact, I could conclude that Lady Baden Powell has already had a direct impact on my life through the Girl Guides of Canada program, which I was enrolled in for four years. I admire this eminent woman for her determination and for fighting for her beliefs, as well as leaving behind a legacy to help young girls across the world.

Lady Baden Powell is the wife of Lord Baden Powell. She helped her husband adapt  Girl Guides from the Boy Scouts program and followed through to promote and support Guiding to create the global network of Guiding there is today. Lady Baden Powell, despite being turned down as Chief Comissioner on her first try, fought to organize and lead the Girl Guides program to a sucessful future – and ultimately achieved her goal. Guiding encouraged girls to become their own people and take action, which was a notion commonly thought of as “men’s work” at the time. Though most likely known as “that crazy lass galivanting about and speaking of women being independent” when she was younger, Lady Baden Powell achieved more and more respect as she grew in age. She died at the ripe age of 88, but she is still well known in the Guiding system and stories.

“Start” was my word of the year, and while I suppose it’s obvious that Lady Baden Powell helped “start” Girl Guides, it has other relations to her as well. It was definitely a new start for people to entertain the idea that girls and boys should be allowed to do the same things, and it was a start in progressing towards gender equality just a bit more. Starting isn’t necessarily a fanfare of trumpets and elephants parading down this streets. In this case, it was quieter – well, maybe only a bit. A horde of girls crashing a jamboree? That might get pretty loud. But change often can only start out small, and snowball as more people catch on.

Here are some articles for any interested in this upstanding woman or how Guiding began:

Olave Baden Powell: Mother Of Millions

The Beginning of Girl Guides