The Womans Guild: Time for Change

If you wguildere raised Presbyterian in East Africa or have been around friends who belong to the flock then you must have stumbled on the Woman’s Guild. I just came from a funeral service at St. Andrews church which I watch the members of the Woman’s guild  all in their symbolic  blue headscarf honour one of their own for her great service and sacrifice, for friendship and sisterhood.

According to the St Andrews website Woman’s Guild was founded in 1922 for girls, first dedication in 1923 and called GIRL’S GUILD. The second dedication was in 1926 and between 1930 – 1943 the Guild lapsed but was revived.  The girls who started were already grown up women and so the name changed to WOMAN’S GUILD,open  to both girls and married women today.

This is a 92 year old brand that deserves uttermost respect for empowering millions of families through their faith based philosophy and practical application of the principles  in addressing drug abuse,  Gender-Based Violence,  poverty, disease, insecurity and climate change. The family institution is under threat from all forces and broken homes are on the increase. Indeed, the list is endless.

The things that caught my attention during the funeral service were the  headscarf, card and badge, a standard issue to the Guild member during the dedication as a sign of membership and a reminder of the fellowship she belongs to and  a reminder of vows and promises. Today the items that belonged to the dearly departed member were presented to her family by the National Chair-lady of the PCEA Woman’s guild in a short ceremony during the funeral service after the chair gave a moving speech.

The logo, the head scarf, the badge and the membership card are powerful brand signals that collectively give deep meaning to members of the guild and all who come into contact with them. The Scouts movement, Salvation Army, Red Cross and other brands use symbols to create connection and collectively give meaning.

My mom had head-scarfs, plenty of beautiful head-scarfs that she she wore to any and every occasion. They were a symbol of pride, fashion and respect as a woman in the nineteen eighties but as the years progressed the less they featured in her dressing.  She like many other women have drifted away from them over time to wearing their hair open, braided or weaved.

This seemingly petite issue of the much celebrated blue PCEA Woman’s Guild headscarf may be the reason for some women and girls not joining the movement. I believe its about time the leaders of this most important woman and family empowerment movement updated its brand assets: head-scarfs, membership card, badge to something that today’s women and girls will adorn with pride and style, something timeless like the scouts scarf and beret.

Any fashion guru with a solution to the  PCEA Woman’s Guild brand signal? Your market will have 62,000 members only 🙂 and many other thousands who will come in because you made it possible through your genius creation.


2 thoughts on “The Womans Guild: Time for Change

  1. Actually, i find the tradition including the blue headscarf very comforting. Being at the same funeral today, I was reminded of my roots. My grand mum, whom I am named for, was one of the founder members of Women’s Guild in Central Kenya. My mum has been a Woman’s Guild for as long as I can remember. Funny enough, in my 20s, i felt the same way, that the Women’s Guild was out-dated and out of touch brand-wise. Now in my 30s, I can see myself returning to my Presbyterian roots, joining the Guild and proudly acquiring my blue headscarf and badge, hair weave notwithstanding. The traditions of age old institutions help solidify the reputation of brands, something the church could sorely use in this day in age when its reputation is being called to question. My view of the Woman’s Guild updating its symbolic artifacts would be like asking Scotsmen to update the Scottish kilt. It will never be the same thing again. I keep saying to my mum I want to sign up for the Guild and today reminded me I need to action this.

    • You have put it so so well. Wow! Three generations at play, rich heritage right there. Thank you very much Marion. I thread lightly on this one because as it were the Woman’s Guild is doing such a great work. If I were to respond to your Scottish Kilt analogy, I say the kilt is a little like the Umbrella, the bicycle, the men’s suits or the Scouts beret- timeless. Alteration here and there to keep with the times is what I ask as in the case of the KCB logo, Microsoft logo or the armed forces uniform. Change that taps into the strength of the brand to establish a connection with the young woman and girl for posterity of the movement

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