Monday, February 6, 2012

Arizona Daily Wildcat Interviews University of Arizona alumna Anna Maria Chávez

The Arizona Daily Wildcat reports that Girl Scouts of the USA has announced a new initiative that will pave the way for women nationwide as they pursue their leadership goals.

Led by University of Arizona alumna Anna Maria Chávez, Girl Scouts of the USA launched what it has called “the largest women’s advocacy cause in the nation’s history dedicated to girls’ leadership” this week. The cause, ToGetHerThere, seeks to reach balanced leadership in the U.S. within one generation.

“Balanced leadership” means “allowing everybody to have the opportunity, should they desire, to take leadership roles,” said Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “This is not boys versus girls or men versus women, it is literally allowing the talent in this country to participate in leadership.”

Campus Girl Scouts works with Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, a local council that serves more than 14,000 girls in the region. One of the council’s priorities is encouraging scouts to engage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, according to Audrey Bockerstette, membership experience specialist for the council and UA alumna.

“Everyone thinks it’s cookies, camp and crafts, and it’s definitely not. We’re trying to break that stereotype,” Bockerstette said.

Gender stereotyping is one of the largest obstacles women face as they try to assume leadership roles, according to Janae Phillips, a junior studying family studies and human development. Phillips is a member of the Arizona Blue Chip Program, a UA organization that teaches leadership skills. Outside of her academic life, she manages an online game development business.

“A lot of people are really shocked when I tell them what I do personally,” she said. In fact, Phillips said that when she conducts business via the Internet, her peers often assume she is male.

Anna Maria Chávez attended Yale University on a full scholarship and majored in history. After graduation she clerked for an Arizona attorney and then attended the University of Arizona Law School.