On Tuesday, January 31, 2012, Girl Scouts of the USA launched 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.
"What a remarkable time to be a girl in this country," writes Anna Maria Chávez, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA, in a column for Forbes. "Think about it: She could grow up to develop the next great computer gadget or breakthrough drug therapy or even Hollywood blockbuster. This is a good and hopeful thing for her — and for us. The issue is that girls still don’t necessarily see this brave new world of opportunity translating into leadership positions for women," continues Chávez. "And it’s true. At this point, women make up only about 3% of the CEOs of publicly traded companies, and you could go across the various sectors and find much the same."
The New York Times devoted an article to the ToGetHerThere cause with the headline At the Century Mark, It’s Not Just About the Cookies. “People generally associate Girl Scouts with cookies, camping, and doing crafts, but the reality of what our brand stands for is we’re the nation’s largest leadership development organization for girls,” said Timothy Higdon, chief of external affairs for Girl Scouts. “What we’re asserting is that the country would be in a much better position if women were represented in leadership all across the country.”
Katie Couric and Robin Roberts delivered a segment on Good Morning America celebrating the rich 100-year history of Girl Scouting while praising Girl Scouts of the USA's declaration of 2012 as Year of the Girl. "Girl Scouts isn’t unique in undertaking this endeavor," writes Couric on her blog. "But the new CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, Anna Maria Chávez, who is the first Latina to head the organization, told me that Girl Scouts are uniquely positioned for this goal. After all, most women business leaders and 11 of the 17 women in the U.S. Senate were Girl Scouts."
In Washington, DC, The Hill reports that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Md.); Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.); Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; and Representatives Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), and Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) all stopped by the Cannon Caucus Room Wednesday morning for a celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts.
The event was part of the ToGetHerThere cause to launch a bipartisan effort to foster leadership in girls and celebrate the Girl Scouts' centennial.
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) talked about her struggles growing up Mexican without a lot of friends and how, when her mother put her in Brownies, she instantly made friends. "I had a lot of fun showing them how to make things like enchiladas and tacos," she said. "And now, my sister and I are the only two sisters to serve in Congress ever."
After the event, the hundreds of Girl Scouts in attendance sang happy birthday to the Girl Scouts program and shared cake and cupcakes made from Girl Scout cookies. The National Journal (subscription based) provided a slideshow of the event.