Girl Scouts Announce New Badges to Inspire Female Leadership in Male-Dominated Fields
The badges were designed to encourage girls to learn more about automotive engineering, STEM career exploration, entrepreneurship, and civics.
The world might be looking a lot different to kids these days, but that isn't keeping them from dreaming big. Now, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) are encouraging their participants to get involved and hone their leadership skills in new, often male-dominated fields. The organization announced today that they're debuting 24 new badges linked to activities around STEM career exploration and civics, among other areas.
In a press release, GSUSA shared that the new badges include:
- Entrepreneurship (for grades K–12). In this part of the program, funded by Susan Bulkeley Butler and designed in collaboration with VentureLab, Girl Scouts participate in exercises that help them create and pitch a product or service that solves a problem. They build their own business plan and think about topics like production, cost, profit, marketing, and competition.
- STEM Career Exploration (grades 2–8). Funded by IF/THEN, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies, this programming encourages girls to explore their career interests and connect them to STEM fields—particularly computer science, nature/environmental science, engineering, design, health, and agriculture—that can help them address the pressing issues of our time and change the world.
- Automotive Engineering (grades K–5). Funded by General Motors, this programming involves designing, engineering, and manufacturing vehicles, as well as the future of mobility. Girl Scouts design their own vehicles, test prototypes, learn about design thinking, create their own assembly line manufacturing process, and more.
- Civics (grades K–12). In order to become voters, activists, and even leaders of state, girls learn how the government works, research laws and how they’re created, and get the specifics on voting, and the electoral college, the representation of women in government, and more in this curriculum funded by Citi Foundation. They also study up on their government officials and are encouraged to meet them.
GSUSA also shared unnerving stats, like the fact that only 13 percent of engineers are women and three in four of today's girls are interested in becoming an entrepreneur, but more than half also say they need more support in this area. But with hope, their new and existing programming will offer Girl Scouts the chance to turn the tide.
In a press release, GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo celebrated the news, noting, "Now more than ever, it’s critical that we have strong leaders who can make informed decisions that make the world a better, safer, more equitable place. During our current health crisis, the world leaders who have been among the most decisive and effective in addressing the pandemic have been women. With these new badge experiences in STEM, entrepreneurship, and the critically important subject of civics, Girl Scouts is continuing to build the transformational female leaders of today and the future and showing girls the power they have to truly change the world."
Additionally, the organization is also providing girls with opportunities to engage and learn during this particularly challenging summer. All councils have the opportunity to host their own Girl Scout Cyber Challenge sponsored by Raytheon Technologies, enabling middle and high school girls to learn crucial cybersecurity skills. And they're offering new and existing programming digitally through Girl Scouts at Home.