With spring’s arrival, March makes its triumphant entrance with a celebration of the transformative power of women and their influence on the course of our history.
This month is officially recognized as Women’s History Month, with International Women’s Day occurring on March 8. This month also marks significant milestones for Girl Scouts– the largest girl-centric organization in the world — as we commemorate our 104th anniversary of service and the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn. We believe these events present an ideal opportunity, as a society, to pause and acknowledge the bold, civic-minded, and courageous girls and women whose actions have shaped our past and continue to impact the present.
The vision realized by Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low in 1912 in Savannah, Georgia, laid the groundwork for ensuring girls possess the skills — including courage, confidence, and character — needed to lead in our world, and to make history of their own. And while we have witnessed many groundbreaking strides by women in the business, political, and educational arenas over the past century, there are still many areas in which girls and women have been failed by a system they had no hand in creating.
In the philanthropy realm, girls have been on the receiving end of less than 7.5 percent of all foundational giving in the past 15 years, with fewer than 8 cents out of every philanthropic dollar going toward providing girls with leadership development opportunities. Furthermore, in the U.S. and across the globe, women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of the STEM career path, a real problem when you consider that by 2018, the U.S. will have 1.2 million unfulfilled STEM jobs due to a lack of qualified workers. In addition, today’s wage gap between working men and women in the U.S. — once on the verge of parity — is widening once again, at an alarming rate.
Admittedly, these statistics paint a rather bleak picture for women and girls in our ongoing fight for equality. They also serve to highlight something that is imperative to the future vibrancy of our global society: the investment in girls and their leadership development.
Girl Scouts knows what happens when you invest in girls — you empower them to change the world. And we fervently believe this investment is crucial in ensuring our country maintains its position as a world leader in the century ahead. The more girls are encouraged to pursue a path of intellectual curiosity, educational achievement, and leadership growth, the greater the breadth of talent we will be able to tap in the future. And according to research conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute, over 90 percent of Girl Scouts attribute their success in life to their time in Girl Scouts, and state that belonging to Girl Scouts provided once-in-a-lifetime, immersive experiences they could not have enjoyed anywhere else.
Simply put, we are empowering girls to have global impact — and a global voice. Girl Scouts is working to change lives, build confidence, and transform girls and young women into extraordinary leaders. But we can’t accomplish these vital objectives alone, and it’s our hope that you understand the integral role you have as leaders, sponsors, role models, and advocates for girls.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Girl Scouts teamed up with Facebook to create a unique filter inviting people everywhere to make a visual declaration to the world of their unyielding support of and commitment to girls and their advancement. Beginning today, International Women’s Day, if you have a Facebook page, you have the opportunity to proclaim, “She’s Our Future! I Stand with Girls,” for the future of our world.
This month — and beyond — Girl Scouts invites everyone to stand united with girls, with the unwavering resolution to work toward their continued elevation as our future trailblazers and history makers. In honoring Women’s History Month, we owe an immense debt of gratitude to those who came before — and to those who continue fighting the battles that matter to us all.
We must work together to ensure that, for the good of our collective future, all girls receive the support, encouragement, and access to the opportunities and experiences they need to succeed.
Author: Anna Maria Chavez
Article Source: Huffington Post