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When Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia, for a local Girl Scout meeting on March 12, 1912, her goal was to bring all girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air.
Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars, and studied first-aid.
Today, Girl Scouts has a membership of more than 3.3 million girls and adults, and over 50 million women in the United States are Girl Scout alumnae.
Girls and women have made remarkable progress since Juliette Low founded the first Girl Scout troop, but inequalities persist:
Women earn 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn; for every dollar a white man earns, African American women earn 67 cents and Hispanic women earn approximately 58 cents.
Women represent more than 50 percent of the workforce, but only 10% are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
Women are granted fewer than 27 percent of Ph.D.s in physics, 20 percent in computer science, and 17 percent in engineering.
Women only hold 87 of the 535 seats (16.3%) in the U.S. Congress and 75 of the 315 elected executive offices (24 percent) across the country.
Since the end of World War II, a woman has served as president or prime minister only 42 times throughout the world.
Why Girl Scouts? Precisely because these inequalities persist.
We help every girl discover who she can be and what she can do, wherever she chooses to put her energies. Leadership experiences for girls are what make Girl Scouting unique.
The journey begins with the Girl Scout environment itself. A girl’s leadership blooms among other girls—away from school pressures, social cliques, and boys—where she can be herself and try new things. Among Girl Scouts, activities are girl-led. She learns by doing, and the learning is cooperative, not competitive. Adults mentor girls and model skills, behaviors, relationships, and careers that girls can emulate.
We believe that one girl can make a difference, and that girls together can change the world.
Girl Scouts has developed an exciting model that meets every one of these needs—it’s called the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). Everything girls do in Girl Scouting is infused with the GSLE, which shows girls how to discover who they are and what they stand for, connect with vibrant and diverse peers in their own neighborhoods and around the globe, and together take action to make a difference in the world.
Even better, they inspire and advocate for others along the way! The GSLE identifies 15 exciting outcomes/benefits for girls, all of which propel girls toward becoming the exceptional women they were born to be.
The Girl Scout experience gives young women the confidence and the tools to lead—to find, inside the uncertain girl, the citizen who will make a difference in her world.