Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced a groundbreaking national initiative to reduce the gender gap in STEM fields by bringing millions of girls into the STEM pipeline over the next eight years. Building on GSUSA's existing efforts, the Girl Scout STEM Pledge seeks to raise $70 million, impacting 2.5 million girls by 2025. GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo broke the news in front of thousands of business leaders during her keynote interview with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff at Dreamforce, Salesforce's annual gathering and the largest software conference in the world.
Acevedo's participation is part of Girl Scouts of the USA's selection 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."
The organization's 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 percent versus 35 percent), and 77 percent of girls say that because of Girl Scouts, they are considering a career in technology.
Today's announcement follows GSUSA's extensive work to expand opportunities for girls in STEM. Earlier this year, the organization launched new programming that includes 23 new STEM and Outdoor badges. Over the next two years, GSUSA will launch 18 Cybersecurity badges and a series of Space Science badges. The 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.
To support the Girl Scout STEM Pledge through individual and corporate donations, visit www.girlscouts.org/STEMpledge.