Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians and Girl Scouts of the USA on Tuesday announced 24 new badges designed to help girls practice ambitious leadership in the areas of automotive engineering, STEM career exploration, entrepreneurship, and civics, many of which remain male-dominated.
The new Girl Scout badges include:
Entrepreneurship (grades K–12). Girls develop an entrepreneurial mindset as they engage in age-appropriate exercises that help them create and pitch a product or service that solves a problem. They build their own business plan and think about topics like production, cost, profit, marketing, and competition. Three in four of today's girls are interested in becoming an entrepreneur, but more than half also say they need more support in this area; these badges are designed to fill the gap.
STEM Career Exploration (grades 2–8). Girls explore their career interests and connect them to STEM fields—particularly computer science, nature/environmental science, engineering, design, health, and agriculture—that can help them address the pressing issues of our time and change the world. The IF/THEN Collection, a free, downloadable digital asset library of real-life women in STEM, is an integral component of the badges. The dearth of women in STEM fields is well documented, but data shows that girls are more interested in a STEM career when they learn how they can use it to help people, demonstrating the value of Girl Scouts’ unique approach.
Automotive Engineering (grades K–5). Girls learn about designing, engineering, and manufacturing vehicles, as well as the future of mobility. They design their own vehicles, test prototypes, learn about design thinking, create their own assembly line manufacturing process, and more. Only 13 percent of engineers are women, underscoring the need for these badges which will introduce more girls to the field.
Civics (grades K–12). Girls gain an in-depth understanding of how local, state, and federal government works, preparing them to be voters, activists, and even political leaders. They research laws and how they’re created, voting, and the electoral college, the representation of women in government, and more. They also research their own government officials and are encouraged to meet them. Just 24 percent of eighth-graders are proficient in civics, and only two in five American adults can name the three branches of U.S. government, highlighting the need for these badges.
“Now more than ever, it’s critical that we have strong leaders who can make informed decisions that make the world a better, safer place,” said GSCSA CEO Lynne Fugate. “During our current health crisis, the world leaders who have been among the most decisive and effective in addressing the pandemic have been women. With these new badge experiences in STEM, entrepreneurship, and the critically important subject of civics, Girl Scouts is continuing to build the transformational female leaders of today and the future and showing girls the power they have to truly change the world.”
Even through the lockdown due to COVID-19, Girl Scouting has not stopped. Since March, GSCSA has been providing virtual content that girls can enjoy at home. From virtual badge workshops to virtual tours of camps, girls have been learning, earning badges, and having fun all from the safety of their homes. Many of the Virtual Girl Scout videos are up on its Facebook page, GirlScoutCSA and website, https://www.girlscoutcsa.org/en/our-council/virtual-gs.html. For upcoming badge workshop registration, please visit the Activities page on the website, https://www.girlscoutcsa.org/en/activities/activities-list.html.