Girl Scouts of the USA today announced the launch of ToGetHerThere, the largest, boldest advocacy and fundraising cause dedicated to girls’ leadership in the nation’s history. The multi-year effort will seek to create balanced leadership - the equal representation of women in leadership positions in all sectors and levels of society - within one generation.
A comprehensive new research study, “ToGetHerThere: Girls’ Insights on Leadership,” commissioned by Girl Scouts in partnership with GFK Roper, reveals that while girls are generally optimistic about their futures, they still see glass ceilings in today’s society that will get in the way of achieving their leadership potential. The study, based on a telephone survey of 1,000 girls aged 8-17, found that close to three in five girls think that a woman can rise up in a company but will only rarely be put in a senior leadership role. Additionally, more than one-third of girls say they would not feel comfortable trying to be a leader, while almost 40 percent are not sure if they are cut out to be a leader.
“It is abundantly clear that our girls have a vision of their leadership potential that is incompatible with what we know they can achieve,” says Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “The ToGetHerThere campaign is the launch of a cause to impact our girls now, so that we can inspire them to achieve leadership roles in all aspects of society.”
Girl Scouts has launched a $1 billion philanthropic campaign for girls to fuel this effort, and to fund opportunities that enable girls to lead. Ninety percent of funds raised will go directly to services and programs for girls across the nation and in 94 countries globally to help fill critical talent gaps in finance, science, technology, environmental, and global leadership arenas.
The ToGetHerThere cause formally begins the work of breaking down the barriers that are keeping girls from reaching their potential as leaders. The cause will seek to motivate all adult members of society – individuals, corporations, governments, and like-minded organizations – to do their part to support girls. Further, the cause will place this issue front and center on the national agenda. Adults who want to support the cause can visit www.ToGetHerThere.org for tools on how to be a part of this important movement.
A crucial reason for girls’ distorted outlook on leadership may have something to do with what they see as environments that are unsupportive of women leaders. The ToGetHerThere study noted that 81 percent of girls believe the workplace could do a better job of meeting the needs of female employees, and the majority of girls also believe family responsibilities weigh women down more than men as they attempt to advance in their careers.
"Our ToGetHerThere study found that while most girls are positive that they want to lead, a startling 59 percent of them say that it is easier to be a follower than to stand out as leader," says Connie Lindsey, National President, Girl Scouts of the USA. "And as our own research from Girl Scout Research Institute demonstrates, negative influences such as stress, fear of speaking in front of others, appearing bossy, and peer pressure may cause girls to simply disengage from assuming leadership roles. We need to change that, and ToGetHerThere is a bold step in the right direction."
On Tuesday, January 31 in New York City, Girl Scouts will kick off ToGetHerThere with a panel discussion at the TimesCenter featuring female leaders across a number of industries, including finance, media, non-profit and sports. At that time, Girl Scouts will be further sharing the findings of “ToGetHerThere: Girls’ Insights on Leadership.”
Following the panel discussion at the TimesCenter in New York City, on Wednesday, February 1, Girl Scouts will host an event on Capitol Hill, in the Cannon Caucus room, focusing on the ToGetHerThere cause as an advocacy program for girls. Girl Scouts will be asking Congressional leaders to join them in supporting efforts to foster leadership in all girls, both nationally and in their respective constituencies.