In a noisy media landscape, I caught on to nugget of news like everyone else that the Boy Scouts were going to start admitting girls. While a flurry of coverage was generated, including questions on what this meant for the Girl Scouts, I don’t know that it was as loud as other types of coverage, which was a bit disappointing. Then, it came back into my mind today when I stumbled upon this USA Today opinion piece by Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo. Reading that I thought about it some and thought to myself that despite how far we’ve come, there’s still a place and a real need for women-only spaces to help foster growth and empowerment at all ages and stages of life. That includes the Girl Scouts, professional women’s organizations, and so forth.
Let me, in full transparency, say that I’ve never had the fortune of being a Girl Scout. (Growing up in NYC in the 80s and 90s, that wasn’t a part of my reality). And, when I considered high schools, I didn’t go to an all-girl school, instead opting for c0-ed education. However, that all said, I’m sure I could have benefitted from it during an awkward time in my life. And, today, as I think about my rise as a professional woman, my own climb had required seeking mentorship, guidance and support on navigating the tough stuff by other women that can relate and understand my journey.
Moreover, it’s been valuable to my own personal development to surround myself with the powerful energy of other women who not only “get it”, but influence my friendships and the way I see myself. It doesn’t matter if you find that kind of empowerment in a structured group like Girl Scouts or a professional women’s organization. At the end of the day, female networks and groups that empower their members serve a great value to help shape and mold leaders in an environment in which they’re comfortable. Who cares how this development happens or how it’s split as long as the groups are teaching leadership principles that will develop smart, informed contributors of society?
Moreover, there’s something else to consider here: as far as we’ve progressed, we’re still in a divided, conflicted climate where not everything is an even playing field. And, for some who feels more comfortable in these kinds of networks? Well, girls and women should have the options. But, it’s unfair to assume that all females want the same thing. Hence, why options exist as all.
This all said, I don’t slam the Boy Scouts. While it feels late in the game, I’ll give it credit that it’s actually happened (well, some). But, I would think long and hard about the marketing approach, some of their views and really evolving their organization to consider all aspects of inclusivity to align with this major step they’ve taken. It’ll be important to help determine if their move was the right one and well-intentioned.
I anticipate many young women will be quite fine remaining in the Girl Scouts. And, until everything is an even and clear playing field, there’s no need to change anything that works, especially when there’s the research that proves it works.
After all, as Beyonce said, “Who runs the world? Girls.” And networks of ’em can only mean even more empowerment.