Why the Girl Scouts are more important than ever (VIDEO)
It's a 103-year-old organization, but if you ask Anna Maria Chávez, the Girl Scouts of the USA is more important for America's young women than ever.
That's the message the CEO of the world's biggest organization for girls had for more than 2,000 women at the opening of #BlogHer15 this week in New York City.
When the Girl Scouts took stock of the state of girls in America recently, Chávez said some statistics jumped out at her. Girl Scouts alumni are more likely than their peers to pursue higher education. They make $12,000 more a year on average than non-Scouts, and they volunteer at a higher rate than their peers.
And as she told President Barack Obama when she presented the Girl Scouts report at the White House, "They vote, and they vote often!"
But that's just the beginning. The 59 million living Girl Scout alumni only served to pave the way for the current crop of girls spending time in an organization that's shifted to ensure today's young women are prepared to compete in a world where STEM is the driving force of the economy.
As Chávez told the #BlogHer15 crowd, supporting today's girls isn't just an emotional issue — it's an economic one.
"Think about the amazing problems we have to solve," she pointed out. "We're keeping half the population away from the decision-making table."
What's more, girls are still being steered away from STEM even as technology drives the workforce. Citing the Girl Scouts' move to take their cookie sales online and other efforts to increase the STEM opportunities for young women, Chávez had a clear warning: "If girls stop dreaming and believing they can do this, it's going to have a huge economic impact."
That's where the Girl Scouts step in, not only in giving member Scouts opportunities to learn, explore and for adventure, but in advocating for girls in America — even those who aren't in the Scouts. Because girls across the United States need loud voices on their side: