Girl Scouts Introduce New STEM-Focussed Badges To Encourage Girls To Get Techy

The organisation has just launched 23 new badges, inspiring girls to get involved with building robots and designing cars.

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As many a former Rainbow, Brownie or Guides member will remember, girl guide clubs provide the perfect opportunity for young girls to learn some pretty important skills as a child. From how to plan a bus journey to packing a bag for a weekend away and how to clean their teeth - they\ve got you covered.

However, we faintly recall the badges often promoted the more archaic, and often sexist, activities such as proving you're a good hostess, cook and possessor faith.

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Fortunately, our American counterparts have just announced an update of their merit badges to focus on encouraging young women learning just about everything, from camping to building a robot as well as a mean risotto.

Girl Scouts USA – who announced the arrival of several cybersecurity badges in June – has revealed it will be welcoming 23 new badges for the scouts.

The badges will give young girls the opportunity to create algorithms, design robots and racecars, go on environmentally-conscious camping trips to collect data about the natural environment, learn about engineering, tree growth, bugs and monitor bird migrations.

The organisation have reportedly teamed up with other groups such as the Society of Women Engineers, Code.org, and the Leave No Trace Centre for Outdoor Ethics to create lessons plans that will help the scouts learn and earn their badges.

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Daisies (the UK's equivalent of Rainbows for girls aged five to seven) will now also be able to try earning their robotics badges, which involves building a prototype of a robot to fix an 'everyday problem'.

'They will learn about simple machines like gears, levers and pulleys and how to use them to build more complex machines,' reads the organisation's press release.

Sylvia Acevedo, the Stanford-educated literal rocket scientist who is now CEO of the organisation, told the Associated Press that Girl Scouts first introduced her to the world of STEM.

'A lot of girls haven't made that shift from using technology to, "You can actually be a programmer.

'For a lot of girls, they need to have that hands-on experience so they feel confident,' she said.

Meanwhile, those who continue Girl Scouts until Ambassador level (the UK's version of Girlguiding) can also try to earn a 'Survival Camper' badge, while junior members can go for an 'eco camper' badge.

The press release from the Girl Scouts added that its members 'are almost twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to participate in STEM (60 per cent versus 35 per cent) and outdoor activities (76 percent versus 43 per cent)'.

However, the Girls Scout's increased promotion of STEM isn't the only way the girl guiding organisation is taking a stand against patriarchal and archaic ideas of womanhood and a girl's place in society.

The new range of badges come seven months after the UK's Girl Guides became trans inclusive, with the organisation's Chief Executive declaring she'd like Girlguiding to become the 'ultimate feminist organisation', a year before the group attended Brighton Pride.

And in 2015, US community organisers Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest created the Radical Brownies – a group of young girls of colour between the ages of 8-12 who learn how to get radical by redefining beauty ideals and social justice movements in order to earn their radical beauty, food justice and radical self-love badges.

What a great way to prepare girls for the world.

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