Guiding young women into STEM

Whilst The World Association of Girl Guides and Girls Scouts is steeped in tradition, it’s a movement that’s very much about moving forward. It’s therefore particularly encouraging when we read that they’re tackling empowering, and future-critical, subjects such as STEM.

And with a presence in 146 countries, they’re busy making global waves –  linking in with tech companies across the world to get girls involved.

Anita Tiessen, Chief Executive of The World Assiciation of Girl Guides said "Every country will have different approaches. In the US, for example, there has always been a very strong outdoors culture, so they introduce STEM activities in this way through robot camps and STEM field trips."

In the UK, projects with Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems have led to the development of new "science investigator" and "engineering" badges - while cloud computing specialist Salesforce recently ran a weekend workshop for 200 guides in London.

And the word is that a forthcoming overhaul of achievement badges is likely to see Coding and Mechanics added to the list. Google is currently advising on the delivery of a new Web and App Design badge. And, in the UK, the main STEM-related badges are Science and Communicator.

It’s great to see that they’re not holding traditionally male-dominated topics at a distance, but bringing it right into the girl guiding and girl scouting fold.

Charlotte Finn, Salesforce's vice president of programs, says: "Aspects of the school curriculum are rooted in the past and are simply not pairing young people with the skills they need for today's jobs in technology. So, it's important that organisations like us complement formal education by bringing these skills to the forefront."

WAGGGS is an organisation that’s been challenging the status quo for well over a century.  A group of girls gate-crashed the first ever Scout rally in 1909 and demanded ‘something for girls’, so really they’re just following the girls’ lead. Now, it’s just up to the world at large to catch up.


Thursday, 13 July 2017

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Guiding young women into STEM