by Anika Mittu ‘19
Both the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA possess similar core beliefs, as both seek to aid in the creation of moral, knowledgeable young adults and citizens. So, why must the two organizations be divided by gender? According to the Boy Scouts, the split is simply no longer necessary. On October 11, the Boy Scouts of America announced a plan for allowing young women into the Cub Scout rank next year, eventually allowing the older girls to gain the revered Eagle Scout title beginning in 2019.
Throughout the months preceding the announcement, the Girl Scouts repeatedly articulated that the Boy Scouts should focus their energies on recruiting the overwhelming majority of young males unenrolled in troops, rather than taking from the Girl Scout base for potential recruits. Naturally, when the decision became public, Girl Scouts reacted immediately, claiming that “only Girl Scouts has the expertise to give girls and young women the tools they need for success.”
However, if the Girl Scouts truly valued female empowerment, they would support all of the young girls who respond better to the activities of Boy Scouts, rather than merely declaring their own methods perfectly suited for young girls. The activities found within Boy Scout troops often allow for greater self-expression, as opposed to the emphasis on group work highlighted by Girl Scouts. For many young females, this particular learning method may feel far more natural, allowing these individuals to succeed through a format unused by Girl Scouts.
Furthermore, despite reforms to offer increased STEM badges within the Girl Scouts, they do not compare to the level of science education apparent in Boy Scouts. The inclusion of young women into Boy Scouts allows for girls interested in STEM to access experiences they could never get in Girl Scouts. Evidently, Boy Scouts of America caters to the strengths of these individuals, emphasizing that Girl Scouts lacks the ability to completely appease the diverse personalities and interests of all female adolescents.
Despite the fact that the Girl Scouts has served as a tremendous influence in inspiring young women over the last century, the opportunities available within Girl Scouts do not always appeal to the learning styles and diverse aptitudes of young women. Unfortunately, if Girl Scouts fails to adapt their content to the interests of young women in the 21st century, girls should actively embrace the opportunity to learn in an environment that suits their needs and allows them to pursue their true passions.