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Why a Day for Girls?

October 11, 2013

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“Why a day just for girls? Because girls can save the world. And we deserve a bigger part of it.” – dayofthegirl.org

October 11, 2012, was the first Day of the Girl. The observation supports more opportunity for girls, and increases awareness of inequality faced by girls worldwide. This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination and violence.

The International Day of the Girl initiative began as a project of Plan International. The idea for an international day of observance and celebration grew out of Plan International’s Because I Am a Girl campaign, which raises awareness of the importance of nurturing girls globally and in developing countries in particular.

International Day of the Girl was formally proposed as a resolution by Canada to the United Nations General Assembly. On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly voted to pass the resolution, proclaiming October 11, 2012 as the inaugural International Day of the Girl. According to Wikipedia, the resolution states that the Day of the Girl recognizes:

empowerment of and investment in girls, which are critical for economic growth, the achievement of all Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of poverty and extreme poverty, as well as the meaningful participation of girls in decisions that affect them, are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights, and recognizing also that empowering girls requires their active participation in decision-making processes and the active support and engagement of their parents, legal guardians, families and care providers, as well as boys and men and the wider community…

As girls, we experience inequality in every aspect of our lives. There are a billion reasons why we need the Day of the Girl, but let’s start with just a few (found on dayofthegirl.org, all are linked to their source)

By 2015, females will make up 64% of the world’s illiterate (adult) population.  (PDF)

Only 30% of girls in the world are enrolled in secondary school. (PDF)

Girls make up half of the high school population, but receive only 41% of all athletic participation opportunities.

Women only hold 15.7% of top leadership positions in Fortune 500 companies.

54% of 3rd-5th grade girls worry about their appearance and 37% worry about their weight.

57% of music videos feature a female portrayed exclusively as a decorative, sexual object.

Females continue to be underrepresented in top roles in film with less than 1 in 3 speaking characters in children’s movies.

Why is International Day of the girl Important to you? Are you and your friends/troop doing anything to celebrate? Let us know in the comments!

Malala Yousafzai: Raising her voice for girls everywhere

October 9, 2013

One year ago today, a 15 year old girl in Pakistan was shot in the head by the Taliban for trying to go to school. This terrible event, which would silence most of us, has given, now 16 year old, Malala Yousafzai the loudest voice of all in the fight for women’s rights and for the right to education. With the International Day of the Girl approaching, it is only fitting that we take the time to appreciate Malala and all that she is working for. After being attacked Malala has not stopped her fight to bring awareness to the world about the importance of education for all women and children.

Through out the past year Malala has made great strides towards achieving her goals. Let’s take a look at her journey as told by the Wall Street Journal Blog.

On Oct. 9, 2012, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she returned from school. She had been campaigning for girls education in Pakistan’s Swat valley.

Pictured, Ms. Yousafzai in Birmingham, England, September 2013.

Getty Images

Ms. Yousafzai, who was 15 at the time of the assassination attempt, was flown to the U.K. for treatment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. In March, after being discharged from the hospital, Ms. Yousafzai began attending Edgbaston High School.

Pictured, Ms. Yousafzai read a book as she recovered from surgery.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital/Associated Press

Ms. Yousafzai began writing a blog for BBC Urdu under the pseudonym Gul Makai when she was 11. She wrote about life under the Taliban in Swat, in northwestern Pakistan, where several schools were closed.

Pictured, Ms. Yousafzai leaving hospital in January.

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One entry in her online diary was titled “I May Not Go To School Again.” In it, she said she was unsure her school would reopen after the winter vacation. “This time round, the girls were not too excited about vacations because they knew if the Taliban implemented their edict, they would not be able to come to school again,” she wrote. A few public speeches and television interviews later, in December 2009, her father revealed that Ms. Yousafzai was the BBC blogger.

In April 2013, Ms. Yousafzai appeared in Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

European Pressphoto Agency

Ms. Yousafzai signed a book deal this year. “I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban,” co-written by British journalist Christina Lamb, was released on Oct. 8. A 14-year-old girl, Shazia Ramzan, was also injured in the attack by the Taliban last October. In an interview with India Real Time, Ms. Ramzan said it was unsafe for Ms. Yousafzai to return to the valley. “But I don’t think she will forget us,” she added.

Pictured, Ms. Yousafzai, left, sat with Ms. Ramzan, at Birmingham Airport in June.

European Pressphoto Agency

On July 12, her 16th birthday, Ms. Yousafzai delivered a speech at the United Nations Youth Assembly. She spoke of the need for education for all children. “Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons,” she said. The U.N. named July 12 “Malala Day.”

Pictured, a woman held a brochure at the U.N. headquarters on July 12.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Ms. Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize nominee in history. The average age of a peace prize laureate is 62. Ms. Yousafzai is one of 259 nominees, including 50 organizations, this year. The winner will be announced on Friday, Oct. 11.

Pictured, Ms. Yousafzai signed U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s guestbook at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

Associated Press

In September, Ms. Yousafzai opened the Library of Birmingham, one of the biggest public libraries in the world.

Pictured, Ms. Yousafzai during the opening ceremony.

Getty Images

Two weeks later, Ms. Yousafzai received Amnesty International’s highest award. The Ambassador of Conscience Award was presented to her by U2 frontman Bono.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Ms. Yousafzai won the International Children’s Peace Prize in September. “I was just one target of their violence. There are many others for whom we must continue,” Ms. Yousafzai said in her acceptance speech.

Pictured, the teenager received her award at a ceremony in the Netherlands.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Last night, on the eve of the anniversary of her attack,  Malala appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

“Describing itself as a fake news program, The Daily Show draws its comedy and satire from recent news stories, political figures, media organizations…The final segment is devoted to a celebrity interview, with guests ranging from actors and musicians to nonfiction authors and political figures.”

It was during this last segment that Malala appeared. Host Jon Stewart, who is usually quick to make jokes towards his guests could only marvel at the courage, confidence and character of Malala. Throughout the segment, Stewart was noticeably in awe, saying at one point, “Nothing feels better than making you laugh.”

It is almost impossible not to be completely awe-struck and inspired when listening to Malala speak. When asked about the state of Swat and how she decided to be the voice of the women and children Malala responded:

“Why should I wait for someone else,” said Malala when explaining why she put herself at risk. “Why should I wait for the government, the army that they would help us? Why don’t I raise my voice?… And I said, ‘I need to tell the world what is happening. I need to tell the world that Swat is fighting against terrorism.”

Stewart was particularly astonished with Malala’s response when she described how she would react if the Taliban were to come after her. Watch her response in the video below.

Watch the full interview here:

Malala Yousafzai on The Daily Show: Part 1

Malala Yousafzai on The Daily Show: Part 2

Malala Yousafzai on The Daily Show: Part 3

Our Say: In praise of the Girl Scout cookie

October 4, 2013

An article from The Capital Gazette by Wendi Winters

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Wendi Winters is a local journalist, public relations consultant and photographer. She is a community news reporter for the Annapolis Capital and writes unique community feature stories.

If the knock did not come at your door this past weekend, it could come sometime over the next few weeks. On the other side of the door is a Girl Scout, maybe a cute 7-year-old Brownie or a worldly 17-year-old Ambassador.

It’s Girl Scout cookie time.

Folks who’ve moved here from Washington, D.C., or beyond, find the timing unusual. Girl Scout cookie sales, in most areas of the U.S., begin in January. Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, encompassing Anne Arundel, H

oward, Harford, Carroll and Baltimore counties and Baltimore City, marches to its own drummer.

“We get right into it,” said GSCM spokesperson Danita Terry. “That way, the girls have the proceed

s to use for the rest of the school year.”

Girl Scouts have been selling cookies as a fundraising operation since 1917. They appeal to all types of appetites. This year’s flavors are a mix of traditional favorites and new ones, including two that can be enjoyed by vegans — Lemonades and classic Thin Mints. In December, the girls also will be selling a test market cookie that’s gluten-free.

Why sell at all?

It’s not just about schilling cookies to earn money. Or, to tempt you to go off your diet.

The Girls Scouts, at all age levels, learn how to set goals. Working at a cookie booth, once the cookies arrive in late October, the girls experience team building in real time while developing the people skills needed to get passers-by to stop, look and reach for their wallet.

They learn basic money management skills: taking cookie orders, handling customers’ money, even doing smartphone credit card transactions. Marketing techniques are rapidly adapted: ebullient booths plastered with signs, staffed by Girls Scouts costumed as waving cookies usually sell more cookies.

The girls earn an average of 56.6 cents per $4 box. Most sell slightly more than 100 boxes. Last year’s top seller, Emily Newland, a Brownie from Crownsville, sold 2,713 boxes. A Glen Burnie Junior, Jenna Diehl, sold 1,192.

The baker gets $1 per box. The council retains $2.37, which goes to operate programs, services and training for the Scouts, leaders and volunteers; maintain several large regional Girl Scout campsites, run programs for inner-city girls, develop new initiatives and events, and pay the GSCM staff.

For girls who succeed in Girl Scouting — not just selling cookies — but who’ve participated in camping and field trips, worked on badges and earned Bronze, Silver or Gold awards, the sky is not the limit. According to Terry, every U.S. female astronaut has been a Girl Scout.

Most of the female legislators on Capitol Hill and in the Maryland State House were Girl Scouts — some are lifetime members.

If a Girl Scout doesn’t come to your door in the next few weeks, there’s a variety of reasons. The major one: these days, fewer people are home from work before sundown. But, you’ll see the cookies for sale at booths at shopping centers.

And, yes, most cookies are $4 a box. Some grumble about the cost. Do a reality check. Stroll down the cookie aisle at your favorite food store.

Click here for the article.

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Competition Winner Finds Inspiration in Juliette Gordon Low

October 2, 2013

As seen in the latest issue of Girls World, Girl Scout Bracha from troop 613 participated in the National History Day Competition and won 2nd place for the state competition! If you haven’t been able to read the article yet, here is a brief overview of the contest and Bracha’s performance:

“My name is Bracha and I am 16 years old.  I am an Ambassador in Girl Scout Troop 613 and am student at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in the Ingenuity Project. This past school year, my high school history class was required to make a National History Day project.

The National History Day (NHD) competition is a year long academic competition that involves over half a million 6th – 12th grade students in historical research and presentation based on an annual theme. In 2013, the theme was Turning Points in history.

I really feel that Juliette Gordon Low’s creation of Girl Scouts fits the NHD theme since it is truly a turning point in history. Before Girl Scouts, women did not have leadership positions in the American workforce and were only expected to be wives and mothers. Juliette daringly created an organization that promoted leadership skills in girls in order to ‘create a newer and better world.’

Today, many women have leadership positions as a result of Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts was a turning point in women’s leadership and it continues to inspire and teach girls essential skills and values. As Juliette Gordon Low said herself, “Girl Scouting is the cradle of careers. It is where careers are born.”

Watch Bracha’s performance below!

Troop 2226′s Investiture!

October 2, 2013

Troop 2226's Investiture!

“On October 1, 2013, the girls of troop 2226, a multi-level troop in Hampstead, MD, celebrated the beginning of the 2014 Girl Scouting year. Parents attending their investiture ceremony watched as their daughter(s) were recognized for moving up a year. A few became Girl Scouts for the first time. Girls lit candles as they walked across to receive their patches and a small reception was held afterwards.”

Congrats and good luck for a great new Girl Scout year!

Has your Troop done anything exciting this Fall? We want to hear about it! Send photos and descriptions to mkovalcik@gscm.org to have your troop’s activities featured on our Facebook or the GSCM Blog!

First Lady Michelle Obama discusses the importance of Girl Scout Volunteers

October 1, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama discusses the importance of Girl Scout Volunteers

Read about the First Lady’s involvement in The Washington Post!

Our favorite moments from The BIG Event!

September 26, 2013

As many of you know we held our cookie sale kick off on Saturday, September 21 at the Howard County Fair Grounds! The event was packed with Girl Scouts and Volunteers that were eager to get the cookie season started! Take a look at some of our favorite moments from the day!

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Girl Scout Morgan can’t wait to sell the new cookies!

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This Girl Scout can’t wait to become a better leader!

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We had women fire fighters and EMT’s on the scene to teach girls about their jobs!

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When the gates opened, there were so many eager Girl Scouts and parents that it was almost like a parade!

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At this booth there were girls in cookie and red panda costumes!

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Girls absolutely loved the chance to meet and make tiaras with Mrs. Baltimore 2014!

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