Girl Scouts USA Declare 2012 “Year of the Girl”
by Sam Johnson
The Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA), is declaring 2012 as “Year of the Girl” to celebrate girls, and to recognize their valuable leadership potential.
Their hope is to build a coalition of like-minded organizations and individuals “in support of balanced leadership in the workplace and in communities across the country.”
This announcement comes as Girl Scouts USA prepares to celebrate its 100th birthday in 2012.
The Girl Scouts organization is celebrating their centennial by launching this major initiative “to change the landscape for girls and young women.”
According to Anna Maria Chávez, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts USA, "The Year of the Girl is only a beginning. We can't transform American leadership in a year, but we can transform expectations in a year. We can transform awareness in a year. We can set in motion a generational change, and make certain that a baby girl born in 2012 will experience her life in a new and vastly different world.”
During the 2012 “Year of the Girl,” local Girl Scout offices nationwide will mix celebrations of the organization's 100 years as the premier leadership experience for girls with efforts to create a sense of urgency around girls' issues.
For example, last week the Girl Scout Research Institute released the results of its study “Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math,” showing that 74 percent of teen girls are interested in these fields of study, and that 82 percent of girls see themselves as "smart enough to have a career in STEM," but only 13 percent indicate a STEM career as their first choice.
Girls are aware that gender barriers still persist in these career fields, as 57 percent of those studied concur that if they were to pursue a STEM career, they would "have to work harder than a man to be taken seriously."
Girl Scouts of the USA is teaming up with AT&T to tackle this issue with a $1 million AT&T Aspire contribution, designed to spark STEM interest in underserved high-school girls across the country.
Addressing another critical finding of the study -- that only 46 percent of girls know a woman in a STEM career -- Girl Scouts USA and the New York Academy of Sciences have announced a partnership to design and implement a STEM mentoring program for Girl Scouts.
"America has a huge opportunity for economic growth with girls' interest in science, technology, engineering, and math," says Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scout USA. “When girls succeed, so does society. We all have a role to play in making girls feel supported and capable when it comes to involvement in STEM fields -- and anything else they set their minds to and have traditionally been steered away from."
According to Connie Lindsey, Girl Scouts USA president, there’s a good reason for declaring 2012 as the “Year of the Girl.”
"Girl Scouts is at the forefront of building girl leaders. We embrace the opportunity we have to develop the next generation and future generations of leaders that understand the interconnectedness of the global community. Our girls will understand that they matter. And when they dream their future, they see a world of shared leadership: where the values of courage, confidence, and character really do make the world a better place."
from Girl Scouts USA
(Information for this column copied from press releases available at www.girlscouts.org).