Let’s Change the World
By Cathy Coughlin
I’m surrounded by hundreds of the most ambitious young women on the planet at the 2014 Girl Scout Convention in Salt Lake City.
I was a Girl Scout myself growing up in St. Louis, so I know what it’s like to be in these young ladies’ shoes. They’re here to discover new things, make new friends and put their minds together to help solve problems. They’re here to prove how “Girls Change the World,” the theme of this year’s convention.
I’m proud to serve on the Girl Scouts Board of Directors, and I’m here today to help guide a group of more than 100 girls working on projects to help solve problems in education. Specifically, I’m talking with them about how they can use their collective brain power to get more girls to pursue degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and math, the STEM fields.
For a variety of reasons, many girls lose interest in STEM when they hit their middle-school years. Is it peer pressure? Is it societal expectations? Are teachers and parents not sending the right signals? Who knows? It could be a number of things, but none of it makes any sense.
According to Girl Scout research, three out of every four girls say they’re interested in STEM. Why, then, isn’t that interest carrying over to their studies? Women hold only one in every four computer and math degrees and even fewer engineering degrees –one in every five! This is a problem. It’s a problem because we don’t get to the best answers when we don’t have diverse points of view at the table. Women represent half the population and are clearly interested in STEM, so they should strive for more STEM careers. These are among the most plentiful and best-paying jobs. Women need to participate in this part of the economy.
AT&T is working with the Girl Scouts to get more girls in STEM. Our company and employees have contributed millions and invested 16,000 hours to encourage girls to pursue their interest in STEM.
The Girl Scouts I’m speaking with today are going to take what they’ve learned back home to their families, friends, schools and communities. They’re going to shine a light on this problem like only they can.
They can make a difference and so can you. Talk about this with the girls in your life. Discuss it with your friends and family. Share this video across your networks. Help us make a difference.
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