Thursday, July 19, 2012

Inclusion: Past, Present and Future


Girl Scouts of the USA and its local councils and troops value diversity and inclusiveness and do not discriminate or recruit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national origin, or physical or developmental disability.

Girl Scouts of the USA has a long history of inclusiveness. What is especially important about the Girl Scouts’ rich history of supporting women’s leadership is their insistence on being a voice for all girls, regardless of their background or neighborhood. Founder Juliette Gordon Low’s first 18 Girl Scouts included girls from influential Savannah families, as well as girls from the Female Orphan Asylum and Congregation Mickve Israel. As early as 1917 the first African-American troops were established, as well as troops for disabled girls. One of the earliest Latina troops was formed in Houston in 1922; Girl Scout troops supported Japanese-American girls in internment camps in the 1940s, and by the 1950s, Girl Scouts was leading the charge to fully integrate all of its troops.

In its 100th anniversary year, Girl Scouts of the USA has affirmed its unwavering commitment to girls’ leadership with 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.

“We can’t transform American leadership in a year, but we can transform expectations in a year,” says Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “We can transform awareness in a year. We can set in motion a generational change and make certain that a baby girl born in 2012 will experience her life in a new and vastly different world. Only Girl Scouts, with its scale and time-honored place in society, can launch this initiative. If not us, who? If not now, when? When girls succeed, so does society. We know that together, we can get her there.”

Girl Scouts of the USA is uniquely qualified to help millions of highly qualified young women launch and sustain careers, overcome barriers that confront them, and enter the ranks of senior leadership and thrive there. Our goal is for Girl Scouts to be the catalyst for the gender-balanced leadership that this country needs.