Thursday, June 28, 2012

Crain's Detroit Business Op-ed: Women's Success Starts Early

The Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan Blog reports that Crain's Detroit Business (subscription) recently published a special feature titled, "Where are the Women?". The Crain's article examined reasons slower growth rates of women owned businesses, and women not serving as corporate board execs at the same pace as men.

Denise Dalrymple, CEO of Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, submitted an Opinion Editorial to Crain's. It is published in the June 25-29, 2012 edition of the magazine. She writes:
At a time when our nation needs all the drive and brainpower it can muster—when we need girls to imagine their grownup selves as someday leading a boardroom, or programming the next killer app, or heading up a biomedical research team—something is stopping them. That “something” has much do with a cycle of discouragement and unsupportive environments. An unsupportive environment gives a girl discouraging messages starting in grade school, and continuing for the rest of her life.

I was glad to see your article key in on the importance of women having supportive mentors and proper networks to broaden their focus in growing businesses and achieving corporate leadership positions. In order for girls’ to reach their full potential, a girl must have the same kinds of supportive networks and opportunities to interact with successful women who are leaders in her interest area, long before the girl enters the workforce.

A recent study by the Girl Scout Research Institute shows that 61 percent of girls are either ambivalent about leadership or say it’s not important to them at all. Of the 39 percent of girls who aren’t disaffected, only one in five believes she herself has what it takes to lead.
Earlier this year, Girl Scouts of the USA launched ToGetHerThere, the largest, boldest advocacy and fundraising cause dedicated to girls' leadership in the nation's history. The multiyear 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.