A new nationwide survey of girls and boys found that a majority of children and youths in the United States have little or no interest with achieving leadership roles when they become adults, ranking “being a leader” behind other goals such as “fitting in,” “making a lot of money” and “helping animals or the environment.”
The study commissioned by the Girl Scouts of the USA and released today determined that three-quarters of African American girls and boys and Hispanic girls surveyed already identify themselves as leaders, a much larger group than white youths, about half of whom think of themselves this way.
The youths defined leaders as people who prize collaboration, stand up for their beliefs and values, and try to improve society. Girls in particular endorsed these approaches, although a majority of boys did, as well. Yet when asked in focus groups about leadership styles among adults, what they described was traditional top-down management.
irl Scouts has always been about leadership. Even at the youngest ages, Girl Scouts gain leadership skills that they can carry with them throughout their lives. The organizational focus on leadership shows girls that they are leaders in their everyday lives, and they will continue to be leaders as they get older.
In 2000, Girls Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) formed the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), which serves as a center for research and public policy information on the healthy development of girls. GSRI is a vital extension of GSUSA’s commitment to addressing the complex and ever-changing needs of girls.
The latest study from GSRI is Change It Up! What Girls Say About Redefining Leadership. You may download the study, the press release, and a fact sheet about Girl Scouts of the USA below.