The Year of the Girl

This month, we’re launching, Campaign for Girls, a two-year giving campaign focused on four key areas of need: enhanced and expanded programming, expanded reach to underserved and underrepresented girls and communities, a mobile STEM Lab, and a retrofit to the current STEM facilities located at their program center in Spokane. Our goal is to raise $300,000 over the next two years through individual and corporate partnerships.

The launch of Campaign for Girls comes on the heels of a mid-term election in which a historic number of women won seats in Congress. “It’s such an exciting time to be a girl and to have such incredible role models leading at all levels,” said GSEWNI’s director of marketing and philanthropy, Nicole Adamson-Wood. “But we aren’t done yet. Girls and women still face significant challenges.” Women account for 50.8% of the U.S. population but are still underrepresented in the private and public sectors.  Only 4.6% of the CEOs on the Fortune 500 list are women. Only 24% of scientists and engineers in the U.S. are women. Just 30% of state judges are women. And, those aren’t the only challenges facing girls. 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted by her 18th birthday. More girls live in poverty today than before the Great Recession. More than 1 in 6 girls in elementary and middle school deal with gender-based harassment.

Making sure that girls succeed isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. According to a study conducted by the World Bank Group, girls globally represent humanity’s greatest untapped talent pool. The gender equality gap not only has a financial impact for women and girls individually and as a group but has a profound impact on communities and countries. Globally, the loss in human capital due to gender inequality is estimated at $160.2 trillion dollars. In the state of Washington, the gender gap costs women $20.3 billion dollars annually. If that gender gap were eliminated, women in Washington would be able to afford an additional 12 months of rent, 16 months of childcare, and 1.5 years of college tuition.

Organizations like GSEWNI can have a significant impact in eliminating this gap for future generations through research-backed programming that provides girls with hands-on experiences in STEM, outdoor and environmental, financial literacy, and healthful and active living giving them a leg up in and out of the classroom that translates into success at college and career.

GSEWNI hopes that the Campaign for Girls will not only raise funds to provide more girls with the Girl Scout experience but will also raise the level of awareness on these important issues that are critical to the success of girls across Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. “Our shining North Star is when girls succeed, society succeeds,” said Brian Newberry, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. “This vibrant campaign is a pipeline to accelerate success for girls.”

As part of the Campaign for Girls, the organization has launched a distinct website that provides greater insight into the campaign and ways people can help. They’re launching a peer-to-peer feature that will allow fundraising at a grass roots level. They’ll also be hosting a series of Salons throughout the year where participants will take part in a dialogue on these issues and how as a community more can be done for girls. The first Salon is a women’s-only event hosted by Nicole Adamson-Wood. “We’ve got a small, incredible group of inspiring women who are going to be discussing ways that we as an organization can create greater diversity in our membership, volunteer, staff, and board. It’s very exciting,” said Adamson-Wood. That initial Salon will take place sometime in early December with three more scheduled over the next year.