Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Let's talk about the Future

Today I am going to deviate from my normal recipe and food reviews to talk about something outside of my kitchen that I feel passionate about; encouraging young woman to become strong and powerful leaders. Today the Girl Scouts of the USA launched To Get Her There- the biggest cause dedicated to girls leadership in history that encourages girls to grow and succeed to become leaders of the future. Girl Scouts of the USA has a lot of experience in encouraging girls and is the perfect organization to head this worthy cause.

At any given point in time, approximately 10 percent of girls are Girl Scouts, and
• 80 percent of women business owners were Girl Scouts.
• 69 percent of female U.S Senators were Girl Scouts.
• 67 percent of female members of the House of Representatives were Girl Scouts.
• Virtually every female astronaut who has flown in space was a Girl Scout.
                                         From  http://www.gscnc.org/files/pdf/pubs/volunteeressentials.pdf

I have always felt very strongly about encouraging my girls and letting them know that there is nothing that they can't do. But, as my oldest has gotten further into school I am learning that ME telling her that is not enough. It is a help, but it isn't enough. They need to see strong women and know that they aren't alone. This quote from the To Get Her There website really hit home for me.

         "Studies also reveal that girls idealize leadership qualities and skills, like being talented, caring,  honest, hard-working, confident, good listeners, and team players. But only 21% of girls believe they have the qualities required to be a good leader. In other words, she knows what it takes to lead, but doesn't have the confidence to do so."

This statement breaks my heart. NO girl should feel that she isn't good enough. NO girl should feel like she can't achieve whatever she puts her mind to. The facts that are presented on the To Get Her There website were shocking and disturbing to me. Just a few of these include:

                  Only 1 in 5 girls believe that she has what it takes to lead - Yet corporations whose boards are at least 1/4 women outperform those with the smallest female board participation.

              Nearly 40% of girls report that they have been put down by peers when they try to lead, yet girls fear being laughed at, making people mad at them, coming across as bossy when trying to lead.

            Women account for less than 20% of the bachelors degrees in engineering, computer science and physics,  yet when today's girls graduate from college, the U.S. will need three million more scientists and engineers.

These facts were staggering and extremely upsetting to read. HOW CAN WE CHANGE THIS??? 
Moms- be a role model for your daughters. Encourage them to follow their interests and not let others sway them. Show them ANYONE male or female that has been successful in that field and help them learn ways to overcome the obstacles to get what they want.

Dads- encourage your girls and show them that you feel that they can do anything they set their minds too. They need to know that you believe in them.

Give them chances to succeed- encourage them to join sports teams, take classes related to their interests or even just help to complete tasks at home. Having my children do even small tasks, like cook dinner has helped them to learn skills and feel proud of themselves.

Even if you don't have children VOLUNTEER your time. Schools are always looking for presenters to come in an speak about their careers and interests.

Show your support of young women by taking the To Get Her There pledge  and speaking up about these issues.

And lastly, if you have a little girl get her involved in a group like Girl Scouts or another group that encourages and supports leadership skills in young women. There is no reason that our girls should feel like they are anything less than the amazing and wonderful people that they are.