Conducted in conjunction with the Population Reference Bureau, a report of this magnitude and breadth has never been conducted, making it a much-needed resource in the field. Resources are compiled to position ourselves as the expert on girls externally and we hope findings will also guide program and GSUSA strategic direction and direct resources to where girls need them most. The audience for The State of Girls report includes Girl Scout councils, educators, policy makers, nonprofit leaders, parents of girls, concerned community leaders, media, and girls.
So here’s the story: Why unfinished business? There is a lot that has happened for girls in the last two decades that has brought us the good news we have to share today. However, there is more work to be done so that every girl has the support she needs to live up to her full potential.
Not all girls are faring the same. Many girls face social/emotional challenges. These issues need to be addressed in order for girls to be leaders in their own life and in the wider world.
Samples were too small for Asian American and American Indian girls in many data sets to report out.When you are listening to the findings, think about:How does this matter to the girls and families in your community?What does GSUSA and your council do to address some of these issues?How does this information give us insight into program focus areas and direction for membership growth?How can we use this now – to support regional meetings and other events with external stakeholders?
You will receive a lot of stats in the coming slides. The goal is not to be an expert on all, but to hone in on what matters most to you in your current work and in engaging staff, funders, community stakeholders, parents, and educators.
Regional distribution: 3 in 5 girls ages 5-17 live in states in the South and West. More than 1/5 (21%) of girls live in just 2 states – California and Texas.Summary/Implications:Changing demographics in the U.S. indicate that girls will have different needs in the coming future. For example, foreign-born parents have fewer economic resources, on average, than U.S.-born families. Language barriers in immigrant families can also affect children’s school achievement and access to public benefits, including critical health services.
“low income” = income levels below 200% of the official poverty threshold.Poverty rates for girls have increased in recent years and having a working parent does not guarantee economic security. Between 2005 and 2010, poverty rates for girls increased from 16.7% to 20.5%.
Black/African American girls face the highest poverty rates. They are more likely to live in single parent families compared with girls of other racial/ethnic groups. In 2010, 27% of girls nationwide lived in single parent families but the share was much higher for Black/AA girls at 57%. This high proportion is one of the key factors linked to higher poverty rates compared with other racial/ethnic groups.Summary/Implications: Girls growing up in poor families confront a number of significant physical, emotional, and behavioral risks that girls living in more affluent families do not.
Most girls have access to health insurance through their parents’ employment or through public insurance programs but Hispanic/Latinas were less likely to have coverage through their parents’ employment compared with girls in other racial/ethnic groups.
We are well aware of child obesity rates and the vast differences among Black/AA (44%) and Hispanic/Latina (41%) girls which make them more vulnerable for Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, hypertension and other health issues.Summary/Implications: All girls need access to health care, better access to healthy food, and opportunities for exercise and physical activity.
Interesting – what girls and their parents say is mismatched: 34% of high school girls reported that they had symptoms of depression during the past year, compared to 20% of girls whose parents reported that their daughters have been depressed.This is an area where we really have the ability to make an impact – girls’ emotional health – with programs like Be a Friend First that helps girls develop positive self-identities and relationships with other girls.
Partner violence – more prevalent for Black/African American girls - 16% report being hit by a boyfriend. Summary/Implications: It is imperative to promote self-confidence and mental health at young ages and be able to recognize signs of depression or other mental health issues, as research has shown that mental health issues in childhood and adolescence persist into adulthood.
Summary/Implications: Teen pregnancies are associated with higher poverty and unemployment rates and lower levels of educational attainment compared with the pregnancies of women who have their first child at later ages.
In 2009, about 46% of high school girls have ever tried cigarettes, 74% had tried alcohol, and 34% had tried marijuana. Looking at risk behaviors, many girls have tried cigarettes or alcohol but use of illicit drugs (such as cocaine, speed, or ecstasy) is relatively rare. However, 13% of girls have reported that they have ever used inhalants. Summary/Implications: It is important for girls to avoid risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and using illicit drugs. Alcohol abuse among youth can lead to risky sexual behavior, problems in school, and higher risk of drug use.
Education puts girls on a path to realizing their full potential. A good education ties to girls’ financial success and economic security in adulthood. The high school drop-out rate is higher for boys at 9% than for girls at 7%. There are 130 women for every 100 men currently attending college. The dropout rate for Asian American girls is less than half the national average, at 3%. Reading and math proficiency is highest among Asian girls versus their peers (including boys).
The high school drop-out rate for both Hispanic/Latina girls (16 percent) and Hispanic/Latino adults, 18 and over (36 percent for women, 40 percent for men) is high.Women without a high school degree are more likely to smoke, have poor nutrition, and have children outside of marriage.Summary/Implications: An emphasis on girls’ education, from enrollment in high-quality early childhood education programs to completion of high school and college, is key to their financial success and economic security in adulthood.
Participation in extracurricular activities e.g., sports, clubs, and other structured, supervised activities has a positive influence on girls’ development and leadership skills. Contrary to popular belief, not all girls are overscheduled. As the chart shows above, less than half of girls in this country participate in sports, the most common extracurricular activity. In Girl Scouts, we continue to focus on attracting those girls who are already involved in multiple other activities, while placing less emphasis on the needs of the underserved, where there is ample growth opportunity and who can benefit from Girl Scouting the most. There are many girls in the U.S. who do not have out-of-school time opportunities. 49% of girls ages 5-14 have no regular child-care arrangements. Many lower-income families cannot afford formal child care because of high costs, lack of access, or nonstandard work hours that make it difficult to take advantage of the care that is available.
Racial/ethnic differences exist. Differences in school athletics participation by racial/ethnic group may be attributed to differences in access and/or availability of sports opportunities in lower-income neighborhoods, as well as cultural differences/attitudes that exist when it comes to girls participating in sports.Volunteerism at least once/month: 39% of white girls, 33% of black/AA girls, and 28% of Hispanic/Latina girls.Summary/Implications: Extracurricular activities should be readily available in all communities. In Girl Scouting, we need to think about how we can better reach the girls who need us the most!
83% of teen girls use social media.Use of social media benefits adolescents by increasing their social connections, enhancing their communication and learning opportunities, and increasing their technical skills, but exposes them to cyber-bullying and privacy risks.
Summary/Implications:Differences in use and access to technology should be taken into account when working with and reaching out to girls, since it cannot be assumed that technology is universally available for girls in the U.S. Adults should encourage in-person communication and create safe spaces and opportunities for girls to connect face-to-face.
When it comes to leadership, there are no national datasets on girls’ leadership, and few research studies have addressed this topic, except for Change it Up (GSRI, 2008). Black/African American (53%) and Hispanic/Latina girls (50%) are more likely to have leadership aspirations than white girls (39%). They also rate themselves more highly on leadership skills and dimensions.
Girls have fewer experiences with leadership in the realms of volunteerism, community service, school sports, clubs, student government, and neighborhood, social, and political activism. Summary/Implications: Youth developmental organizations need to work to help girls foster their interests and continue to build skills around effecting change in themselves, the community, and the world at large.
Why is this important? Accurate information on how girls are faring is necessary to identify the aspects of girls’ lives that need support and more resources. These trends are important not only because they may affect how girls are faring today, but also because in a generation, these girls will enter the workforce and start families of their own. These data can address misconceptions (e.g., the “overscheduled” child misconception) and highlight key opportunity areas for girls.Girl Scouting can help. As the largest girl-serving organization, many are looking to us to tackle these issues.We need to partner with local/national organizations to have a stronger impact on our girls.
One way to talk about these issues is What Girl Scouting Does To Address the State of Girls (Fact Sheet, forthcoming). Girl Scouting touches each of these areas relevant to girls’ healthy development. We are clearly in the out-of-school time space, as the premiere leadership development organization for girls. Our leadership experience contributes to academic success as illustrated by GSRI’s study Linking Leadership to Academic Success (GSRI, 2012). We have excellent programming in STEM, financial literacy, bullying prevention, and of course, we give girls outdoor experiences and promote health and wellness throughout our programming.
All findings are embargoed until December 9th for media purposes but can be used for other efforts.
If councils are doing events in the Spring, we may have state level data available for use.
The state of girls ppt gsri_9.12.2013_final
The State of
Girl Scout Research Institute
September 11, 2013
• Major findings
• Program and policy implications
• Ideas for council activation
• Release plans
The State of Girls Report – What Is It?
• It is critical for Girl Scouts to have up-to-
date, accurate data about the state of girls’
physical, social, and psychological well-being.
• This is the first report to stake out key issues
and major trends focused exclusively on girls’
healthy development in the U.S. today.
– Includes data from secondary national
government sources on demographic and
trends, health, safety, education, extracurricular
involvement, and leadership.
Summary of Findings
There is promising news for girls.
• educational attainment
• extracurricular, volunteer, and pro-social
• reduction of risk behaviors
• connection to the digital world
Summary of Findings
Not all girls are faring the same.
• They struggle in their everyday lives at school,
at home, and in other social environments
with issues such as relational aggression,
bullying, depression, and even suicidal
Summary of Findings
Many girls are being left behind.
• Black/African American and Hispanic/Latina girls
face significant challenges in making successful
transitions to adulthood.
• Poverty and a lack of resources prevent the
– access to good healthcare
– nutrition and general wellness
– the opportunity to prioritize education
– the chance to explore constructive extracurricular
The demographic distribution of girls in the U.S. is changing rapidly.
Setting the Stage – Millennial America
Setting the Stage – Millennial America
By 2020, nearly half of all girls ages 5 to 17 will
be racial/ethnic minorities.
• Hispanic/Latina girls currently make up more
than 20% of girls ages 5 to 17.
• By 2020 they are projected to make up 27% of
girls in that age group.
• Nearly ¼ of girls live in immigrant families in
which one or both parents were born outside
of the U.S.
Poverty is a critical issue for girls in this country.
• 1 in 5 girls lives below the poverty line, and
42% of girls live in low-income families.
• In 2010, poverty rates ranged from 12%
among white girls to 37% among black/African
Hispanic/Latina girls are significantly less likely
to have health insurance than their peers.
–17% of Hispanic/Latina girls were without
health coverage in 2010, compared with
11% of black/African American girls and 7
percent of white girls.
Childhood obesity rates have risen sharply in recent years.
• Girls’ self-reported rates of depression are higher
than rates reported by girls’ parents.
• Suicide among girls is relatively rare, but about
18% of all high school girls report that they have
seriously considered attempting suicide in the
• Although many girls report that they have friends
and adults that they can trust and turn to at
school, about 30% of girls reported some sort of
bullying or aggression from their peers.
While the teen birth rate has declined over the past years and has reached its
lowest recorded levels, a higher share of black/African American and
Hispanic/Latina girls become teen mothers, compared with white girls.
• Girls are more likely than boys to graduate from
high school, and women now outnumber men on
• Asian American girls have better outcomes on
education measures, followed by white girls,
multiracial girls, black/African American girls, and
• Many girls are graduating from high school and
going to college, but Hispanic/Latina girls are at
risk for early school drop-out.
Many girls are engaged in sports and extracurricular activities.
• White girls are slightly more engaged in
extracurricular activities than black/African
American and Hispanic/Latina girls.
– Participation in school athletics is highest among
whites (59%), followed by blacks/African
Americans (52%) and Hispanics/Latinas (48%).
• The majority of teen girls volunteer.
– About ¾ of teen girls volunteer at least once a
year, and volunteerism increases as girls get older.
Access to Technology
Most girls in this country are connected digitally.
• More than ¾ of girls ages 12 to 17 have a
computer or laptop in their home, have a cell
phone, and play video games.
• Despite increased use of electronic media, girls
still value spending time with their friends.
– Nearly 60% of all girls spend time doing social
activities in person with their friends at least several
times a week.
Access to Technology
Not all girls have equal access to technology use.
Leadership is not a top goal for girls.
• Girls value a social and collaborative approach
to leadership as opposed to the traditional
top-down, command-and-control style.
• Girls’ leadership experiences are limited to
responsibilities and opportunities that exist in
their family and social circles (e.g., babysitting,
taking care of a pet, or helping a friend)
Call to Action - Girl Scouts
Data are not destiny.
• Girl Scouts is committed to ensuring that all
girls develop to their full potential.
– GSLE sets forth a bold and aspirational model of
leadership that encourages girls to
discover, connect, and take action.
• No single organization can do it alone.
Call to Action - GS and External Audience
• Collaborate with Girl Scouts to raise awareness,
educate the public, and fund opportunities that can
help remedy some of the most pressing challenges girls
and communities face today.
• Improve the lives of girls and youth by sharing and
promoting the findings at the local, state, and federal
• Work with policymakers to address the issues that are
most critical to the healthy development of girls and
What Girl Scouting Does
• Girl Scouting can address several areas relevant
to girls’ well-being.
– Out-of-School Time
– Education/Academic Success
– Outdoor Activities
– Emotional Health
– Financial Literacy
– Physical Health
Opportunities at the Local Level
• Use the report to raise awareness and educate your community leaders
– Hold community conversations/roundtable discussions.
• Partner with other organizations in your community that are also
focused on these issues.
• Engage potential funders (foundations/corporations).
• Invite local media to cover events and ask media figures to
moderate panel discussions.
• Have girls participate in the discussions.
• Invite members of the local school boards and school district
• Use this as an opportunity to promote Girl Scout programming that
addresses many of these issues.
• GSLE, STEM, BFF, GSBB/ GSDC
State House Activities
• Look for opportunities to share findings of the report with state public
– Governor, state agency heads, state legislators
• Many of these issues are priorities in the GS Legislative Agenda.
– Leadership, STEM, healthy living, financial literacy
• Distribute the Executive Summary or a link to the report during your Girl
Scout Day at the State Capitol.
• Look for opportunities to have Girl Scouts testify before key committees.
• Hold a briefing hosted by the “Honorary Troop at the State House” on one
of the issues in the report.
• Host a panel discussion with subject matter experts and make sure to
include the girl voice.
Benefits to Councils
• Opportunity to develop new partners in the
• Girl Scouts will be seen as a resource/thought
leader on girl issues
• Chance to share expertise on girl policy issues
• Will create media opportunities for your council
• Will promote your council’s programming
• Will cultivate new funders
• Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast
Tracy Wayson, Chief Development and Brand
• Girl Scouts Heart of Central California
Julie O’Donnell, Director of Marketing and
• Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta
Shana Davis, Director of Marketing and
GSUSA Release Plans
• Power point presentation
• Executive summary (digital, printed)
• Findings brief
• Fact sheet – “What Girl Scouting Does to Address
the State of Girls”
• Community engagement tools (boilerplate press
release, message matrix, community
GSUSA Release Plans
• National media coverage
• Full report (digital, printed)
• Fact sheets (Black/African American
girls, Hispanic/Latina girls)
Link to Pearl Community:
• State-level project 2014-2015
– Fact sheets for all states
• Localizing data
– Examples of state-level resources from full report
– Poverty, health insurance coverage, employment,
earnings, nativity status:
• Council best practices – Spring 2014
Director of Research and Outreach, GSRI