Thursday, July 2, 2015

Girl Scouts Advocates for Action to Help Girls Overcome Obstacles to Leadership

Girl Scouts advocates in support of girls at all ages of development growing into leaders, in their own life and in the world. And new research released June 30, 2015, at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (#DWEN) Summit brings fresh awareness to the ongoing global challenges female entrepreneurs face, and the need to support girls in filling the entrepreneurial pipeline so they can be the leaders of tomorrow.

Dell’s Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard found that gender-based differences hold high-impact female entrepreneurs back in all 31 countries in the study, and that leadership roles remain male-dominated, making it less likely girls or aspiring young female entrepreneurs would know a woman entrepreneur. This is where Girl Scouts comes in!

Anna Maria Chávez, our national CEO and the keynote speaker at the #DWEN Summit, says “Every day, I get to see and hear of all the incredible things that girls are doing in their troops to make the world a better place.  From individual Gold Award projects that focus on poverty, human rights, or sustainable energy, to entire troops working on robotics teams, I see the limitless capacity of girls and our youth to change the world, and it reminds me of the importance and impact of our mission.”    

Studies by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) on girls’ attitudes, well-being, and healthy development, such as The State of Girls: Unfinished Business and Generation STEM: What Girls Say About Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, show that while progress has been made for girls across the US with regard to their educational attainment, challenges persist, such as a lack of confidence in their leadership potential and inadequate access to the resources they need to succeed. These study insights heighten the imperative to support girls—not just for their or their families’ benefit, but also for the healthy growth of the world economy.

Such challenges remain considerable when it comes to girls establishing and fully developing their leadership potential in areas that interest them. According to recent GSRI studies, girls have limited exposure to STEM fields and shy away from careers in politics. Moreover, leadership isn’t a top goal for many girls. These findings show that while girls do have interest in fields that have been traditionally male-dominated, a gap exists in their confidence in their ability to succeed in them, as they perceive a number of societal obstacles standing in their way. 

As we all know, Girl Scouts continues to advocate for action to help girls overcome obstacles to leadership—from working to affect public policy and offer programs for all girls, including the underserved, to generating visibility through social media dialogue and public speaking by Anna Maria Chávez, who says “We have an obligation to demonstrate the power of our voice and the value of our perspective, by serving as pioneers and role models for today’s young girls. Communities, business leaders, and governments all over the world must stand up and recognize the reality that sits at the very core of the Girl Scout mission—that girls matter.” 

We couldn’t agree more, Anna!