A mum claims her eight-year-old daughter has been banned from the cub scouts for being a GIRL – because it’s “inappropriate” for her to be around “young single males”.
Eloise Bemand-Wright joined the Beavers a year ago and “absolutely loved” it, gaining badges, fundraising and camping alongside brother Aston, seven.
When she got too old for the junior club, her leaders made arrangements for her move to the older troop – the 1st Kingskerswell Cubs – which meets in the same hall.
But her mum Jane, 46, claims the leader told her she couldn’t join his group – simply because she’s a girl.
The mum-of-three said as a girl she wouldn’t be able to canoe and it wouldn’t be “inappropriate” for her to go camp alongside his “young single male” helpers.
It comes despite the Duchess of Cambridge joining the scouts in 2012 and visiting a pack in Kings Lynn on Wednesday to celebrate the Cubs’ 100th anniversary
The ruling goes against Scout Association guidelines, which says girls should be welcomed into the Cubs.
Outraged Jane, from Torquay, Devon said: “I feel absolutely disgusted by it all.
“He’s clearly one of these sexist men.
“What is he doing taking young lads from the age of eight up with those kind of opinions? It’s disgraceful.
“I’ve always brought up my children as equals. That’s how it should be.
“Even her little brother knows it’s wrong. He can’t understand it either.
“He thinks ‘if I can do it then why can’t my sister?’
“It begs the question why a seven-year-old and his friends understand it is wrong, but a grown man can’t.”
Outgoing Eloise joined the Kingskerswell Cubs aged seven and was the only girl, but soon another friend joined.
“She was the oldest in the group so sort of loved being the boss and was really committed, doing all the badges she could and attending every week,” said Jane.
She has to move up to the group for children aged nine and over before her next birthday in January.
Her beaver leaders didn’t think twice about arranging for her to join their older group, which meets in the same hall on a different night.
But leader Paul Willing told them he “didn’t take girls in his group” and a meeting was called in November when Jane complained.
“He said he didn’t take girls in his group and that was that,” Jane said.
“We went to the district manager and he still didn’t budge so they called a meeting.
“At the meeting he told me ‘if we had girls already it would be different, but we don’t’.
“He told me that she couldn’t join because she ‘wouldn’t be able to do any activities like sleepover and canoeing’.
“I assume he means because of getting changed, and not that girls just can’t canoe, but who knows.
“I tried to calmly reason with him. He said she couldn’t do sleepovers because she couldn’t be alone in her tent.
“I said that would not be a problem because myself or her father would come along. He said no because they didn’t need any more helpers.
“I said we weren’t there as helpers, we’d be there as her parent, and he said no because then it wouldn’t be the same for her as the others.
“It felt like he was putting anything he could in her way.
“Eventually he said ‘I can’t put her in a tent with men’. He said ‘my helpers are young single males and I don’t feel that’s appropriate’.
“I said ‘well I assume they are all CRB checked so that’s not a problem’ and he said ‘I won’t take her’.”
“She doesn’t know any of the other children because they have all been at cubs together and she came out of her second week in tears,” she said.
“It’s not the kids’ fault – I’m sure they are all lovely – it’s just that the whole ordeal has really knocked her confidence.
“You wouldn’t believe it would happen these days. As far as I know they have accepted girl in the scouts since the 90s.”
Jane said she hasn’t heard anything back from the troop or The Scout Association since the meeting in November.
Simon Carter, a spokesman for the The Scout Association, said the organisation is investigating her complaint.
“We have recently become aware of the complaint made by a parent that one of our Scout Groups had not welcomed a potential new female Member into one of our Cub Scout Packs.
“Over the last few years we have been increasingly successful in recruiting young women into the Scout Movement and now 25% of our members are women. Young women have been welcomed into the Scout Movement for 25 years.
“We have clear policies in place that ensure all our Scout Groups are open to young women. We are investigating the issues that surround this case and if we find that our policies have not been followed we will take the appropriate action to deal with the situation.
“We want to make sure that any young woman who wants to join her local Cub Scout Pack is able to do so.”