Monday, March 12, 2012

Girl Scouts Launch ToGetHerThere Campaign Dedicated to Girls' Leadership

Girls think the workplace could support women more; Harder for women to succeed than men

Girl Scouts recently announced the launch of ToGetHerThere, the largest, boldest cause dedicated to girls’ leadership in the nation’s history. The multiyear effort seeks to create balanced leadership—equal representation of women in leadership positions in all levels of society—within one generation.

A new research study, ToGetHerThere: Girls’ Insights on Leadership, commissioned by GSUSA, reveals that while girls are generally optimistic about their futures, they still see glass ceilings in today’s society that will get in the way of achieving their leadership potential. The study, based on a survey of 1,000 girls ages 8–17, found for example that close to three in five girls think that a woman can rise up in a company but will only rarely be put in a senior leadership role. Additionally, more than one-third of girls say they wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to be a leader, and almost 40 percent are not sure they’re cut out to be a leader.

I do feel I miss out on opportunities because I'm a girl,” said Juanita January, 13, a 7th-grader at W. J. Christian K-8 School and a Cadette Girl Scout. “Sometimes boys and other peers laugh at me for being outspoken. That sometimes stops me and I slip back into the shy, little girl I use to be. I can miss out on grand opportunities because I do not try to open a new door.”

Sarah Gordon, a 16-year-old sophomore at Spain Park High School and Senior Girl Scout has strong feelings about girl leaders. “To know that women are overshadowed by men in the business world is more fitting for the 1950's, not for today. I think everyone has the potential for greatness, no matter who you are, and it is sad so few girls believe that concept. Leadership is something that should be encouraged more within the girl community.”

Obstacles to Leadership from a Girl’s Point of View
A crucial reason for girls’ distorted outlook on leadership may have something to do with their perception of environments as unsupportive of women leaders. The ToGetHerThere study noted that 81 percent of girls believe the workplace could do a better job of meeting the needs of female employees, and the majority of girls believe family responsibilities weigh women down more than men as they attempt to advance in their careers.

“The Girl Scout Research Institute found while the majority of girls think anyone can acquire the skills of leadership, only 21 percent believe they have key qualities required to be a good leader,” says Trish Coghlan, CEO of the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama. “Negative influences such as poor self-esteem, fear of speaking in front of others, appearing bossy, and peer pressure may cause girls to not assume leadership roles. We need to change that so girls can be better prepared to compete in the workforce. The ToGetHerThere campaign is a bold step in the right direction.”

The ToGetHerThere cause seeks to motivate all adult members of society—individuals, corporations, governments and likeminded organizations—to support girls. Adults who want to support the cause can visit for tools on how to be a part of this important movement.

About Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama
2012 is the Year of the Girl! To get involved, visit our 100th anniversary page at Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama is a United Way community partner and serves 15,300 girls ages 5-17 and 5,000 volunteers across 36 counties. For more information on becoming a member, volunteering or pathway opportunities, call 800-734-4541 or visit