FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Girl Scouts of the USA Press Room
NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2014 -- Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) today released findings from a new "pulse poll" showing that while the majority of today's teen and tween girls are interested in politics (67 percent), and most are engaged in political, civic, or leadership activities (93 percent), only a minority (37 percent) are interested in pursuing a career in politics. The pulse poll was conducted in September by the Girl Scout Research Institute with a national sample of more than 1,000 girls in the U.S. between the ages of 11 and 17, with demographics matched to the U.S. Census distribution of girls in this age range.
While the vast majority of girls (83 percent) have already participated in civic activities such as a cause or campaign, or engaged with an organization they believe in, they stop short of envisioning political careers for themselves, seeing politics as a man's world, partially attributable to a media lens that favors men. Even in their teens and tweens, girls are already leaning away from the political arena, citing running for student government as an activity with little appeal for them.
"Girls today want to make a difference in the world," says Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. "They are just looking for the best path to do it. We know girls want to be leaders and to make a positive impact on the world, which makes them excellent candidates for future politicians making decisions to benefit society. If girls aren't seeing a political career as an option, then it's time to look at the messages we are sending them—and to change those messages."
The discrepancy between girls' desire to engage in the political world and their actual involvement in it is troubling. While, according to the poll, 78 percent of girls want to make a difference in the world and 76 percent want to help people, 92 percent of those girls believe there are other ways than politics to make a difference in the world—and 61 percent would rather be a movie star than president of the United States.
Interestingly, the fact that girls by and large don't want to enter politics does not point to a lack of faith in their own abilities. Eighty-four percent of girls say "I am smart enough to have a career in politics." What they are calling for is more support and encouragement from society, the media, and adults, to pursue a career in politics. Sixty-five percent of girls feel more mentoring from current politicians and positive stories in the press would encourage them to pursue political careers.
"This new research shows real promise when it comes to girls' political aspirations—but we need to give girls more support and opportunities to experience and get excited about politics," says Senior Researcher Kamla Modi, Ph.D., of the Girl Scout Research Institute. "As the adults in their lives, we need to establish a culture that lifts up women in politics rather than pushes them down, so that girls—and all of us—can know a world where men and women are seen as equally qualified decision makers and ambassadors for change."
The pulse poll provides additional insights, including:
We're Girl Scouts of the USA
We're nearly 3 million strong who believe every girl can change the world. It began over 100 years ago, in 1912, with one woman, Juliette Gordon "Daisy" Low, who believed in the power of every girl. Today, we continue her vision of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place, by helping them discover their inner strength, passions, and talents. And with programs for all girls from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to do something amazing. We're the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscouts.org.
We're Girl Scouts of the USA
We're 2.7 million strong—1.9 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.