Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bill Supported by Girl Scouts Introduced in Congress

U.S. Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced bipartisan legislation that establishes a national task force that would develop voluntary guidelines and other measures to promote positive media images of girls and women. The bill, the Healthy Media for Youth Act (H.R. 4925), was developed in collaboration with us at Girl Scouts of the USA.

The bill would support media literacy programs, promote research on the effect of media images on young people, and encourage the adoption of voluntary guidelines to promote healthier media images for youth. The Healthy Media for Youth Act is part of a Girl Scout effort at the federal, state, and local level known as Live Healthy, Lead Healthy, which seeks to engage policymakers and community leaders around key health and well-being issues affecting girls. On the importance of healthier media images, Representative Baldwin states:

“Children are consuming more media than ever... Unfortunately too many of the images they see often reinforce gender stereotypes, emphasize unrealistic body images or show women in passive roles. All young people would benefit from seeing healthier and more positive messages about girls and women. The Healthy Media for Youth Act is a critical step towards achieving this goal.”

Moore Capito goes further in saying:

“The need for healthy, positive images of girls in the media is clear... We applaud the Girl Scouts' response to this need. The Healthy Media for Youth Act, which builds upon with their tireless efforts to build girls' self-esteem, will improve youth media literacy and create new opportunities for the media to positively impact the health, relationships and future of our young people.”

With the bill now formally introduced in Congress, Girl Scout staff and volunteer leaders from councils across the country will meet with their local members of Congress in coming weeks to build support for the legislation. The effort, known as Girl Scout District Congressional Advocacy Days, is part of an organization-wide effort to be the leading voice for girls and promote healthy media images for girls.

If you want to take action and gain support for the bill, please visit The Girl Scout Advocacy Network today to send a support letter urging your Representatives to cosponsor the bill.