Monday, May 8, 2017

Girl Advocates Tackle Financial Literacy

In the second of a series of briefings developed in partnership with YWCA USA and Girls Inc., representatives from Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) paid a visit to Capitol Hill to educate members of Congress and their staff about the financial literacy issues that girls face. The event both highlighted these unique financial challenges and offered Girl Scout programs as a solution.

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), the lack of financial literacy programming available to youth in the United States is a growing concern given the ever-evolving state of the economy. The Great Recession led to high unemployment, foreclosures, personal and national debt, inflation, and financial uncertainty. The GSRI’s research has also revealed that although girls are confident and optimistic about their financial futures, they feel their current financial knowledge and understanding is limited.

This May 4 briefing gave GSUSA the opportunity to present to congressional staff the benefits of the financial literacy programming that GSUSA offers. Given that financial literacy is not a part of standard K–12 curricula in the United States, it’s crucial that today’s girls are taught age-appropriate money management and business concepts to form the foundation of a secure financial future. Through Girl Scouts, girls learn key skills, like how to finance a college education, become a first-time homebuyer, and plan for retirement—all of which are invaluable to their futures and the future of the global economy.

Representatives from the host organizations were accompanied by Mankaa Ngwa-Suh, program services manager for Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital (GSNC), and Maya Woods-Arthur, a Girl Scout Senior from Washington, DC. Mankaa discussed the scope and impact that financial literacy programs have on GSNC’s girls, and Maya relayed her personal experience of learning money management and entrepreneurship through Girl Scouts. Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA), one of the event’s congressional cohosts and a member of Girl Scouts’ Troop Capitol Hill, offered her perspective on empowering women in leadership and how her time as a Girl Scout prepared her to serve in Congress.

Members of Congress are vital partners for advancing policies that allow girls to thrive. Whether girls choose to become the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies or the CFOs of their families, they must receive the necessary tools to make financially responsible decisions. With these skills, their advancement as future leaders of courage, confidence, and character is unstoppable.