The Girl Guides of Canada shared a new name for one of its groups on Wednesday in an effort to be more “inclusive.”
Instead of “Brownies,” the seven- to eight-year-old age branch of girls in the Girl Guides of Canada (GGC) will now be called “Embers.”
“This wasn’t just about a name or its origin. This was about the fact that girls experienced racism and felt that they weren’t welcome in Girl Guides,” Jill Zelmanovits, the CEO of Girl Guides of Canada, said in a press release.
“We heard from many current and former members and even members of the public who understood why we had to make this change. Over the last couple of months, families have signed up with Girl Guides for the first time because changing this name means Girl Guides is more inclusive for their daughters,” Zelmanovits noted.
The Girl Guides announced in November that they were acting to find a different name for the branch after current and past members said the “Brownies” title “caused harm and was a barrier to belonging for racialized girls and women,” according to the release.
The name “Embers” will be fully incorporated by September and Girl Guides is requesting that members not be dressed in clothing with the old name on it after the first of September “when representing GGC.”
“With the new Embers name, we hope even more girls will see Guiding as a place where they can just be themselves, grow their confidence and explore their talents and interests,” Zelmanovits said. “By taking action and changing the name to Embers, Girl Guides is living our promise to ‘take action for a better world’ and we are showing girls that what they say matters. This is something I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of.”
In 1914, the Brownies were started in England as girls looked to create a group like the Scouts. Initially, they went by the name “Rosebuds,” according to the BBC.
After they said they were going to change the name in November, there was a request put in to members to weigh in and cast a vote online to pick an updated title. The two choices were “Embers or Comets,” according to The New York Times.
The Girl Guides of Canada first realized that some people didn’t like the name “Brownies” after the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 resulted in widespread protests and riots around the world, according to Zelmanovits, per the Times.