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Merit for All Scouts: GSA Edition

Posted by T. Resnikoff // February 27th 2013 // Issues and Trends, Social Justice, soundings, Stories and Voices, youth // no comments

girl_scoutsThe Boy Scouts of America (BSA) plans to review its policy banning LGBTQ membership or participation in May of this year stands in contrast to the Girl Scouts of America (GSA) policy of not discriminating against LGBTQ membership. GSA policy with regard to the sexual orientation of its members, volunteers and staff states, “there are no membership policies on sexual preference,” which means that unlike the Boy Scouts and their policy regarding homosexual male adults, at the Girl Scouts of America sexual orientation or identity does not disqualify individuals from serving as leaders (1).

From the GSA website,

Diversity has been a core value of Girl Scouts since its founding in 1912. At a time of segregation and before laws promoting civil rights were passed, our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, ensured that African-American, American Indian and Hispanic girls were able to become Girl Scouts. She led efforts to make Girl Scouting available to girls who lived in rural and urban areas, to girls who were rich, middle class and poor, and to girls who were born in this country as well as immigrants.(2)


Girl_scouts_iStock_000018154599XSmallThe Girl Scouts of America, founded in 1912 and charted by the United States Congress in 1950, has always represented the rights of a marginalized population in the United States: women. There are many example of persistent gender-based inequities in American society, including the U.S. military draft (all men are required to register for the military draft with the Selective Service as of 18-years of age, while women are not allowed to register at all (3); the Gender Pay Gap that favors men and Glass Ceiling in American business – in the U.S. women earn only 77 cents on the dollar paid to men and women of ethnic minorities earn considerably less(4); and political representation – women constitute approximately 50% of the population but less than 25% of elected officials to the United Congress(5).

In 1952 the GSA established a Public Policy and Advocacy office. (Read more about the history of the Girl Scouts of America here.)

About the Author

Ted Resnikoff is the Digital Communications Editor at the Unitarian Universalist Association.
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