Thursday, September 22, 2011

Girl Scouts of the USA and BET Networks Host Panel Discussion: Building African American Girl Leaders

Together with BET Networks, Girl Scouts of the USA and NCTA are sponsoring a panel discussion featuring Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks, Representative Karen Bass (D-CA), Essence magazine Editor-in-Chief Constance C.R. White, Beverly Bond, founder of Black Girls Rock! Inc and other media, youth and business leaders. The event will explore African American girls’ leadership development following the release of The Resilience Factor, a report by the Girl Scout Research Institute examining how African American and Hispanic girls define, experience, and aspire to leadership.

“Growing up in a community rooted in achievement, making a difference and having a positive impact on African Americans is something that has always been important to me,” said Debra L. Lee. “At BET Networks, empowering our young people for a brighter future is at the core of who we are and certainly a big part of the work we do on air and in our community with organizations like the Girl Scouts.”

In its research, the Girl Scout Research Institute found that African American and Hispanic girls are more likely to view themselves as leaders, and also more likely to aspire to leadership than their Caucasian peers. Specifically, the research revealed that societal problems, like racism or economic disenfranchisement, may actually cause African American girls to become resilient and develop leadership skills.

Fifty-three percent of African American girls desire to be leaders. African American girls want to be the kind of leader who stands up for her beliefs and values (88%), brings people together to get things done (87%), and tries to change the world for the better (83%).

In addition, African American girls in touch with their ethnic identity and religion who maintained positive relationships with parents and family had higher levels of self confidence and greater leadership aspirations than girls who did not.