Why STEM Matters for Girls: The Girl Scout Difference

Over the summer, Girl Scouts announced 30 new STEM badges for girls as well as new journeys. In November 2017, the organization pledged to raise $70 million to help bring 2.5 million girls into the STEM pipeline by 2025. While many viewed this news with enthusiasm, some still ask why it matters. Others argue not every girl wants to be in a STEM field and worry Girl Scouts is moving away from its roots in the outdoors. We’re here to help you understand.

What is STEM?

Before we continue, it’s important to identify exactly what STEM is. The acronym stands for science, technology, mathematics, and engineering, four subjects most girls in the United States will be exposed to, yet few will pursue.

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Why don’t more girls pursue STEM fields?

Think about the clothes you’ve seen in the kids section. The girls have frilly shirts covered with sparkles, claiming things like ‘when I grow up, I want to be a mermaid’ or ‘princess’ or ‘unicorn.’ Meanwhile boys clothes will say things like ‘astronaut.’

Realize it or not, girls are conditioned to think about more ‘feminine’ careers from a young age. This is encouraged through stereotypes and the underlying current of sexism that still plagues our society. One of our studies found that girls were less likely to raise their hand to answer a math question if boys were in the room, even when they knew the answer.

Since we started doing STEM programming, we’ve seen success in our Girl Scouts in a number of ways. One of the most startling is when a girl admits she thought boys were just better at STEM-related activities until she was engaged in them herself. If you want to read more about that and other revelations, check out the full report.

Basically, at some point it became assumed that STEM wasn’t for girls. We’re trying to change that perception.

It goes beyond the STEM pipeline

While we strive for equality in the workforce, both in job selection and salary, it isn’t our sole reason for encouraging STEM in our girls. Most people remember that Girl Scouts is about building girls of courage, confidence, and character, but they may not know the crucial second half: who make the world a better place.

We know there are things in this world that can be improved. Through our journeys and badges, we help girls learn about taking care of the planet and conservation. We encourage them to be away of their impact and what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint. Simply put, we were a girl-led green movement before it became popular.

We know it’s not for every girl

We’re continuing to add STEM badges in areas like cybersecurity, but it doesn’t mean we think every girl needs to become an engineer or scientist. We just believe every girl has the right to choose exactly what she wants to do, and we want to increase her chances of success by exposing her to different fields.

Maybe your Girl Scout wants to be a park ranger. Or a stay at home mom. Or an accountant. Or a veterinarian. Or maybe even a princess. We’re here to support her no matter what, so your girl can have courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place in her own chosen way.

Unleash Strong! Be a Girl Scout.

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The Fourth of July feels the peak of summer fun, but fall is right around the corner. You can even see it in stores . Despite school not starting for more than a month, the back to school sections are popping up. Pool toys are being swapped out for classroom supplies and the bus will be rolling down the street sooner than you’d like.

When school begins, so do the never ending extracurricular activities. At times, it can feel like every night is booked. It’s easy to cut certain programs you don’t feel are as valuable. Unfortunately, Girl Scouts is one that doesn’t always make the cut.

The case for Girl Scouts

You want your girl to succeed in her life, whatever it may look like. You want her to opportunities to shape her own future. While a number of activities can help her, none partner along side of her quite like Girl Scouts.

At Girl Scouts of Western New York, we’re dedicated to building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. When your girl joins a troop, she isn’t just signing up to do arts and crafts and sell cookies. She’s joining a sisterhood where she can be her own person and make a difference in her community.

We believe in the inclusive, all-girl environment and have the research for why it matters for you girl. This helps us create a safe space for her to try new things, develop new skills, take on leadership roles, and work toward earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards.

What we do

At Girl Scouts, your girl will have the opportunity to experience new adventures while giving back. All of our programming focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), the outdoors, like skills, and entrepreneurship.

Bottom line, we know this is a man’s world, but we want to help your daughter reshape it for herself and generations to come.

Why it matters

More than just what we offer, we have proven results. Women who were Girl Scouts are more successful, enjoy higher incomes, are active volunteers, and vote more regularly.

Half of all female business leaders are Girl Scout alums. More than 70 percent of female U.S. Senators were in Girl Scouts. Every former female Secretary of State are Girl Scout alums.

Unleash strong!

Become a Girl Scout this fall and see the difference it can make for yourself. Join Girl Scouts today!