You go, girls
Today, the Girl Scouts of the USA introduced 23 new badges in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math, and the outdoors. This is the largest rollout of new badges for the organization in over a decade, aiming its focus on encouraging interest in STEM and environmental conservation from an early age.
The new merit badges include Programming Robots, which requires Scouts to create simple programs that could be run by a robot and understand how machines use sensors, and Race Car Design Challenge, where Scouts have to design cars, tracks, and learn how to carry out “fair tests.” The organization created select badges with contributions from tech-related groups like Code.org, SciStarter, and GoldieBlox, and they join existing STEM badges like Website Designer and Cybersecurity.
According to the organization’s announcement, Girl Scouts are “almost twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to participate in STEM (60 percent versus 35 percent) and outdoor activities (76 percent versus 43 percent).” They also note that Girl Scouts are more likely to seek careers in STEM, law, and business — fields where women are traditionally underrepresented.
While these badge additions are a definite “yay!” moment, it’s worth noting there are still severe discrepancies between available badges for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. For example, the Girl Scouts have two meal-related badges — Dinner Party (how to be the hostess with the moistest) and Simple Meals (serve a meal for family and friends), while the Boy Scouts cooking badge has a list of requirements, including trail meals and food-related careers.
The new badges are indicative of where the Girl Scouts are going, though, and it’s frankly super cool to see them stepping up to give us our next generation of robot-programming, racecar-building women.
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