So, what does this mean for girls, and more importantly, our culture? According to a study published in Science, girls as young as six are influenced by stereotypes and believe that brilliance or giftedness belongs to boys. The study asserts that at age five, children believe boys and girls have an equal capacity to be “really, really smart.” But just one year later, at age six, girls in the study lumped more boys into the “smart” category. By a wide margin, girls are growing up believing they’re lesser than their male counterparts which is just not ok.
Encouraging girls to explore different programs and activities at a young age is one of the best ways to fight stereotypes that women aren’t biologically equipped for activities or positions that are traditionally male-dominated, which is still prevalent in today’s society— as evidenced by the infamous Google memo.
One Step at a Time
This is a great step forward for the organization, and we should be supporting this rebrand of the Boy Scouts rather than scrutinizing it. Scouts BSA will have a different feel than the Girl Scouts, with different skill-building activities that have long been stereotyped for “boys only.”
It’s exciting to live in a world where the girls and boys of Scouts BSA will take on the same challenges and obstacles— having a long-term societal impact when it comes to gender equality. Opening this program to girls is a reinforcement that playing with both their dolls and Lego toys is not only accepted, but highly encouraged.
The unsung heroes of our generation are oftentimes females who have struggled to break into their field based on gender bias. I’m hopeful this will lead to a whole new era filled with motivational, female leaders who might not have been exposed to a particular field if it wasn’t for Scouts BSA, much like our mission to empower and support young girls to pursue technology fields.