Studies have predicted that within the next decade, the U.S. workforce will need 1 million more STEM professionals than it can produce. Girl Scouts has already been expanding opportunities for girls to explore STEM and today, Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Sylvia Acevedo announced the Girl Scout STEM Pledge. This groundbreaking national initiative pledge seeks to reduce the STEM gender gap by raising $70 million, impacting 2.5 million girls by 2025.
Acevedo announced the pledge during Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual gathering and the largest software conference in the world. GSUSA was honored to be selected as a “Trailblazer” and nonprofit of choice at this year’s conference. By selecting the organization, Salesforce acknowledged Girl Scouts’ work in STEM and its ability to transform the lives of millions of girls across the country, in virtually every residential zip code, preparing the next generation of female leaders.
“Girl Scouts has the largest pipeline of future female leaders available, and no place is this more important than in STEM fields,” said Acevedo. “By working with individuals and companies that understand the importance of investing in all girls, we can fundamentally change the STEM pipeline and the future of its workforce. Girl Scouts is the only organization for girls with the expertise and reach to help pave the way for any young girl—no matter if she lives in Middle America or a major city—to break barriers and achieve any dream she may imagine. For millions of girls, this means excelling in STEM—and I’m incredibly proud that the Girl Scout STEM Pledge will make that dream a reality and change the dynamics of women in these exciting fields.”
Today's announcement follows Girl Scouts' extensive work to expand opportunities for girls in STEM. Earlier this year, we launched new programming that includes 23 new STEM and Outdoor badges. This commitment to encouraging girls to discover and excel in STEM fields has yielded real results: Girl Scouts are almost twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to participate in STEM activities (60% versus 35%), and 77% of girls say that because of Girl Scouts, they are considering a career in technology.
Here in Southern Arizona, STEM programming plays a vital role in both our volunteer-led troops and our Social Impact troops. A few recent examples? Just last Friday, the Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts of Troop 138 visited Salpointe Catholic High School’s STEM Center, where they worked on earning their robotics badge. The following day, the inaugural G.I.R.L. Conference took place at Angel Charity Place for Girls, providing sixth through twelfth grade girls with leadership development, including an engineering team-builder and a workshop on building solar-powered motors. And every week, our staff-led “SciGirls” program at Tucson's Doolen Middle School gives girls who would not otherwise have access to hands-on STEM programming the opportunity to conduct experiments, explore scientific concepts, and develop new skills.
Over the next two years, GSUSA will launch 18 Cybersecurity badges and a series of Space Science badges. This new Girl Scout programming builds girls' skills and encourages their interest in STEM and environmental conservation from an early age—areas girls are not typically encouraged to explore outside Girl Scouting. But because Girl Scouts is girl-led, girls decide together what they do, often choosing to explore science, technology, engineering, and math...and in the process, they become better problem-solvers and critical thinkers, and more effective leaders.
To support the GSUSA nationwide STEM Pledge, visit www.girlscouts.org/STEMpledge.