Girl Scouts are not who you may think. Soon they will be able to earn badges in computers and cyber security. According to USA Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has partnered with Palo Alto Networks, a High Tech Silicon Valley firm, to create eighteen new badges in cyber security.
These badges in cyber security celebrate the measures Girl Scouts are taking to introduce young girls to careers in STEM. This program will not only change the lives of thousands of young women, but it will shape the future of STEM.
This is truly the biggest announcement in the world for the advancement and empowerment of women. Why? Right now, there are more jobs in technology then there are candidates. Men dominate these jobs. According to the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey, women still only make up 24% of the STEM job market. Additionally, the Economics and Statistics Administration shared that, engineers are the second largest STEM occupational group, but only one out of every seven engineers is female.
It is time to fix these statistics and get more girls interested in STEM. The Girl Scouts have a plan, and that is, to show young women how fun tech can be. Earning badges are fun, and something the girls can work towards. They are a physical item that celebrates their success, and hard work. The courses could be as simple as Daisies learning how their iPhone works, or Brownies understanding what a virus is and how to detect one.
The power of teaching girls the basic concepts at such an early age will allow them to embrace technology. This will prepare girls for the important jobs of the future. It also proves to young girls that this is a job they CAN do, and they can have fun doing it.
Even if girls decide not to go into STEM, they still need to understand technology for almost any job they hold. Learning internet safety is an important and necessary skill to learn. According to , Suzanne Harper, senior director of the Girl Scouts national STEM strategy explained, “these badges are going to address the needs that girls and the world have. Girls need to know how to be safe online, how to protect their personal and financial information and how to avoid hoaxes or scams and more.”
Harper goes further to speak on the demand of jobs in cybersecurity, “it’s clear from the daily news that the world — companies, government, hospitals — has a need for strong cybersecurity and there’s actually a great need for cybersecurity professionals.”
Okay we get it – high tech and STEM jobs are hiring. But why should women pursue high tech jobs? Because they pay very, very well. According to the Boston Globe, “Software developers right out of college can command starting salaries of up to $90,000. Once in their jobs, they can get as many as 20 recruiting calls a day trying to convince them to leave for another company. And when they do, a 20 percent to 25 percent bump in salary is not unusual.”
Sound too good to be true? The fantastic news is that High Tech companies want and need more women in their ranks. They are willing to invest in women and put them on the fast track. According to the National Center for Women And Information Technology, research has shown that technology companies with more gender diversity perform better financially and have better team dynamics. These companies really do need women to succeed.
The Girl Scout’s website shares that, the organization has over 1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults. That is a lot of girls being introduced to careers in STEM. These young Women will change the face of High Tech companies in the future. Thank you to the Girl Scouts for being a leader, role model, and supporting the advancement of girls and women.