Photo by : H. Armstrong Roberts

Author : Janice Levenhagen-Seeley

Scouting Girls In: Unfolding the Boy Scout Program Name Change

After 108 years, the Boy Scouts of America is shaking things up with the name change of its flagship program, Boy Scouts, to Scouts BSA, which is expected to take effect in February 2019. After over a century of being a program for only boys, this isn’t something we should take lightly. And here at ChickTech, we believe it’s a major step towards gender equality and inclusion.

Let’s take a closer look at the details:

– The name of the parent organization, Boy Scouts of America, will remain the same

– Cub Scouts, the program for 7- to 10-year olds, will keep their title and has already started to admit girls

– The 11- to 17-year-olds who join Scouts BSA will likely start referring to themselves as ‘Scouts’ without a gender modifier

– The program will have separate units for boys and girls, which addresses concerns that girls joining the new program might be at a disadvantage in seeking leadership roles

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.

Social Change via Social Media

It’s worth noting the incredible impact this name change has already had across social media among members of the organization, and even celebrities. For example, actor Ashton Kutcher shares his thoughts below:

How do you feel about this change? Do you think it will have a long-term effect? Tweet at us @chicktechorg and share your thoughts!