Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) Advocates for Action to Help Girls Overcome Obstacles to Leadership

GSUSA responds to new Dell-commissioned Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard showing gender gap limiting economic potential of female entrepreneurs.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Girl Scouts of the USA Press Room
media@girlscouts.org
(212) 852-8525

NEW YORK, July 2, 2015 -- Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), the premier girls' leadership development organization, advocates in support of girls at all ages of development growing into leaders, in their own life and in the world. New research released June 30, 2015, at the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network (#DWEN) Summit, the Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard, 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.

The Dell 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. 

GSUSA CEO Anna Maria Chávez, a 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."    

GSUSA, with its research arm, the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), regularly conducts national studies on girls, their attitudes, well-being, and other topics related to girls' healthy development. These studies, such as The State of Girls: Unfinished Business andGeneration 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,

  • Seventy-four percent of high school girls have an interest in STEM fields and subjects, yet their exposure to STEM fields is limited, with only 13 percent saying that a STEM career is their top choice. Forty-six percent of them know a woman in a STEM career who could serve as a role model.
  • Sixty-seven percent of girls are interested in politics, yet the majority (74 percent) of girls agree that "if I went into a career in politics, I'd have to work harder than a man to be taken seriously."
  • Leadership is not a top goal for girls, with only 39 percent of girls wanting to be a leader.

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 these fields, as they perceive a number of societal obstacles standing in their way. 

From an economic point of view, girls and women are the best investment when it comes to a "return" to their communities. Globally, they reinvest an average of 90 percent of their income in families, compared to a 30–40 percent reinvestment rate for men1. Investing in girls and women strengthens a community's ability to grow, govern effectively, and reduce poverty. It is estimated that by closing the gender gap in our global work force, GDP worldwide would grow nearly 12 percent by 20302. Women and girls constitute the largest emerging market—bigger than India and China combined3. 

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 leader 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're Girl Scouts of the USA 
We're 2.8 million strong—2 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe girls can change the world. It began over 100 years ago with one woman, Girl Scouts' founder Juliette Gordon "Daisy" Low, who believed in the power of every girl. She organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, and every year since, we've made her vision a reality, helping girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents. Today we continue the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. We're the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs for girls from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to do something amazing. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscouts.org.