Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Founder's Day Girl Scouts!

Juliette Gordon Low's Birthday, or Founder's Day, October 31, marks the 1860 birth of Girl Scouts of the USA founder Juliette Low in Savannah, Georgia. Juliette started the organization in 1912. Test your knowledge of the Girl Scouts' founder with our interactive quiz.

Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912, for a local Girl Scout meeting. She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. With the goal of bringing girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air, Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars, and studied first aid.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Research Affirms Girls' Interest in Public Service, Illustrates Immense Barriers

Girl Scouts of the USA today released findings from a new ”pulse poll” showing that while the majority of today’s teen and tween girls are interested in politics (67 percent), and most are engaged in political, civic, or leadership activities (93 percent), only a minority (37 percent) are interested in pursuing a career in politics. The pulse poll was conducted in September by the Girl Scout Research Institute with a national sample of more than 1,000 girls in the U.S. between the ages of 11 and 17, with demographics matched to the U.S. Census distribution of girls in this age range.
According to Running for a Change: Girls and Politics (Girl Scout Research Institute, 2014), while the vast majority of girls (83 percent) have already participated in civic activities such as a cause or campaign, or engaged with an organization they believe in, they stop short of envisioning political careers for themselves, seeing politics as a man’s world, partially attributable to a media lens that favors men. Even in their teens and tweens, girls are already leaning away from the political arena, citing running for student government as an activity with little appeal for them.

“Girls today want to make a difference in the world,” says Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “They are just looking for the best path to do it. We know girls want to be leaders and to make a positive impact on the world, which makes them excellent candidates for future politicians making decisions to benefit society. If girls aren’t seeing a political career as an option, then it’s time to look at the messages we are sending them—and to change those messages.

The discrepancy between girls’ desire to engage in the political world and their actual involvement in it is troubling. While, according to the poll, 78 percent of girls want to make a difference in the world and 76 percent want to help people, 92 percent of those girls believe there are other ways than politics to make a difference in the world—and 61 percent would rather be a movie star than president of the United States.

Interestingly, the fact that girls by and large don’t want to enter politics does not point to a lack of faith in their own abilities. Eighty-four percent of girls say “I am smart enough to have a career in politics.” What they are calling for is more support and encouragement from society, the media, and adults, to pursue a career in politics. Sixty-five percent of girls feel more mentoring from current politicians and positive stories in the press would encourage them to pursue political careers.  

"This new research shows real promise when it comes to girls’ political aspirations—but we need to give girls more support and opportunities to experience and get excited about politics,” says Senior Researcher Kamla Modi, Ph.D., of the Girl Scout Research Institute. “As the adults in their lives, we need to establish a culture that lifts up women in politics rather than pushes them down, so that girls—and all of us—can know a world where men and women are seen as equally qualified decision makers and ambassadors for change."

The pulse poll provides additional insights, including:
  • Girls see male and female politicians as equally capable but notice how the media depicts female politicians very negatively, portraying them as more motivated by their emotions, less competent, and less honest/trustworthy than their male counterparts.
  • The majority of girls believe that men are more likely than woman to be encouraged to pursue a career in politics and run for office, win an election, and be taken seriously as politicians.
  • Only 32 percent of girls believe that society encourages women to pursue careers as politicians, and 74 percent agree that if they went into politics, they’d have to work harder than a man to be taken seriously.
Read the full results of the pulse poll.
Monday, October 27, 2014

Anna Krauss Gives a Voice for Those Who Can’t Listen

Girl Scout Gold Award recipient and 2014 National Young Woman of Distinction Anna Krauss from Girl Scouts of Suffolk County lobbied to change the auditory test requirements for deaf students in the New York State Education System.  As a result, the state revised the Test Access Accommodations Guidelines for Students with Disabilities document so it would offer hearing impaired students the ability to use written text during the listening section of the state examination. Check out the below video to hear from Anna about her project!

This year, GSUSA received a record-breaking number of submissions from Girl Scouts across the nation, their Take Action projects tackling a broad spectrum of important issues, from green energy to gender-balanced leadership to sex trafficking. These young women had the courage to dream big and the persistence to make their dreams a reality.
Friday, October 17, 2014

Guest Post: Cathy Coughlin on Girls and STEM

Let’s Change the WorldGirls+STEM=Success!

By Cathy Coughlin Senior Executive Vice President and Global Marketing Officer, AT&T Inc.

I feel energized, inspired and ready to tackle any challenge this morning. I’m surrounded by hundreds of the most ambitious young women on the planet at the 2014 Girl Scout Convention in Salt Lake City.

I was a Girl Scout myself growing up in St. Louis, so I know what it’s like to be in these young ladies’ shoes. They’re here to discover new things, make new friends and put their minds together to help solve problems. They’re here to prove how “Girls Change the World,” the theme of this year’s convention.

I’m proud to serve on the Girl Scouts Board of Directors, and I’m here today to help guide a group of more than 100 girls working on projects to help solve problems in education. Specifically, I’m talking with them about how they can use their collective brain power to get more girls to pursue degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and math, the STEM fields.

For a variety of reasons, many girls lose interest in STEM when they hit their middle-school years. Is it peer pressure? Is it societal expectations? Are teachers and parents not sending the right signals? Who knows? It could be a number of things, but none of it makes any sense.

According to Girl Scout research, three out of every four girls say they’re interested in STEM. Why, then, isn’t that interest carrying over to their studies? Women hold only one in every four computer and math degrees and even fewer engineering degrees –one in every five! This is a problem.

We only get to the best answers when we have diverse points of view at the table.  And, we need more women to participate in STEM, one of the fastest-growing and best-paying parts of the economy.

AT&T is working with the Girl Scouts to get more girls in STEM, through our signature education initiative, AT&T Aspire.  Our company and our employees have invested our dollars in Girl Scout STEM programming and have contributed thousands of volunteer hours to encourage girls to pursue their interest in STEM.

The Girl Scouts I’m speaking with today are going to take what they’ve learned back home to their families, friends, schools and communities and spread the word that we need more girls in STEM. They’re going to shine a light on this problem like only they can.

They can make a difference and so can you. Talk about this with the girls in your life.

Discuss it with your friends and family. Share this video across your networks. Help us make a difference.
Thursday, October 16, 2014

Today is a Great Day to Venture Out!

Venture Out! is an online adventure that lets volunteers explore different ways of taking girls outside in Girl Scouts. Here, they’ll encounter the kinds of challenges and successes that only the outdoors can bring: bad weather, distracted girls, new discoveries and life-changing events. Along the way, they’ll find tips for getting girls outdoors, plus real-life stories and advice from over 50 volunteers.

Venture Out! is for volunteers working with K-5 troops who have little or no experience taking girls outside. Never hiked in their life? Have lots of outdoor skills, but don’t know how to share them with girls? Venture Out! has ideas for both these groups…and everyone in between. Troop leaders of older girls may also find it useful.

The Girl Scout Research Institute recently conducted a national study about girls and the outdoors. The report, More Than S'mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts' Outdoor Experiences explores two basic questions: How and how much are girls getting outside in Girl Scouts? And what difference do these outdoor experiences make? Among key findings of the study are that girls' outdoor experiences in Girl Scouts are positively linked to their challenge seeking, problem solving, and environmental leadership. Additionally, when girls get outdoors on a monthly basis in Girl Scouts, doing even casual outdoor activities, they are much more likely to agree that they've learned to recognize their strengths, to do something they thought they couldn't do, and to gain skills that will help them do better in school.

Through Venture Out!, volunteers will gain the confidence to take more girls outside and practical knowledge from other volunteers about getting girls outdoors. Venture Out! is available from Girl Scouts University, and made possible by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project.