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International Women’s Day

Susanne Gardiner – ACT

For International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the stories of women in Scouting and the contribution they make to our movement. Susanne Gardiner is one.



Branch Commissioner New Program


Scout Leader, TL@AJ2019, Leader Advisor (Germany)

What Brought You Into Scouting?

My brother was a Boy Scout and I always wanted to join and go on hikes and expeditions. I did youth group instead, becoming a leader at 16, doing lots of outdoor activities, but wasn’t a Scout in uniform until 22.

What Keeps You In Scouting?

My colleagues reckon I just love being a Scout. I love the outdoors and outdoor activities and Scouting gives me the opportunity to do a lot of different activities. Being a leader I am able to provide these opportunities to young people (and other leaders who haven’t been able to enjoy the outdoors until now).

What’s the best thing you’ve done in Scouting?

With five friends I founded the female strand to my brother’s Scout organisation. They are still going strong with six groups in seven cities in Germany. Last year they celebrated their 30th anniversary.

Would you recommend Scouting to other women and why?

YES! It’s a great way of getting out and about, using your organisational, leadership, and activity skills, or developing new ones. It’s fantastic to watch young people overcome challenges, have new experiences and achieve their goals.

What do you think is the most important thing that women can bring to Scouting?

Being a role model by being yourself, by being able to do stuff, and by challenging yourself, to show girls (and the wider community) that being female is not something that should hold you back.

Who is your female ‘hero’?

Both my grandmothers – they lived through war (in China and Germany), were refugees, were working mothers and went through cancer and still were selfless and had a positive outlook.

Do you have any other ‘heroes’?

My parents. Best team together.

Do you have a personal philosophy that motivates you?

You can understand and accept others’ points of view without having to give up yourself.