Congress, Girl Scouts, Look to Empower Next Generation of Female Leaders

Congressional Members to Meet with Girl Scouts to Examine Girl Leadership


April 28, 2009

Girl Scouts of the USA
Michelle Tompkins

Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, April 28th, members of Congress will get a rare glimpse into the evolving perceptions of girls' leadership during a conversation on "What Girls Say about Leadership: Empowering the Next Generation of Female Leaders." The dialogue will be hosted by the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA).

The decision to convene a meeting between policymakers and the Girl Scouts was sparked by a recent study released by Girl Scout Research Institute which found that the presidential election, and the intense campaign season that preceded it, generated an unprecedented level of interest in civic engagement in young people. During Tuesday's meeting, participants will take a close look at how girls view the concept of leadership and their role as future leaders.

"As a result of this dialogue on girls' leadership, we hope that policymakers will have a shared understanding of how this generation of girls understands leadership and the barriers they face to achieving their leadership potential," said Laurie Westley, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Advocacy, and the Research Institute, GSUSA. "America's girls need more support to become the leaders they aspire to be and the leaders our nation needs. This meeting offers an opportunity to explore this important topic."

"Research with girls across the country demonstrates that the current notion of leadership as command and control often does not resonate with girls. Girls are redefining leadership to be connected to making a difference in the world—and are asking for support from adults to do the same," said Judy Schoenberg, Director, Research and Outreach, GSUSA.

Congressional members will be addressed by Connie Lindsey, GSUSA National Board Chair; representatives from GSRI and several girls from the Girl Scouts of the Nation's Capitol council who will share their insights on their leadership experiences and goals.

When questioned about her reasons for wanting to be a leader, a 9th grade Girl Scout from Atlanta remarked, "I want to be a leader for girls everywhere because lately I haven't seen a single role model out in the world that I can look up to…"

Immediately following the briefing, new female members of Congress will be inducted into Troop Capitol Hill, an honorary Congressional Girl Scout troop open to all Congresswomen.

About the Public Policy, Advocacy, and the Research Institute Group
Girl Scouts of the USA first established a Public Policy and Advocacy office in 1952. Since that time, the organization has worked to build strong relationships with Members of Congress, as well as with officials at the White House and federal departments and agencies. Through our advocacy efforts, we inform and educate key representatives of the government's legislative and executive branches about issues important to girls and Girl Scouting and lobby for increased program resources.

We have established an important partnership in Congress with the Honorary Congressional Girl Scout Troop, Troop Capitol Hill, comprised of women Members of Congress. Members of Troop Capitol Hill have made a commitment to help Girl Scouts substantively address issues important to girls and Girl Scouting on a national level.

Formed in 2000, the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) is a center for research and public policy information on the healthy development of girls. Through conducting groundbreaking research, the main goal of the GSRI is to elevate the voices of girls on key issues that affect their lives – such as their emotional and physical health and safety. The GSRI originates national projects and initiatives, synthesizes existing research and conducts outcomes evaluation to support the development of the Girl Scout program and to provide information to educational institutions, not-for-profits, government agencies, public policy organizations and to parents seeing ways to support their daughters and to girls themselves. The GSRI includes staff and advisors who have expertise in child development and also includes advisors from academia, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations.

About Girl Scouts
Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.6 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouting is the leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. The organization strives to serve girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girls Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts, call (800) GSUSA 4 U (800-478-7248) or visit www.girlscouts.org.