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It’s Time to Stand Up for Girls

It’s Time to Stand Up for Girls

By Nancy Nygren

The ConnectOC Blog is a place for sharing insight, information and examples of how Orange County residents, donors and nonprofits are working to build a brighter, stronger, more vibrant community.  We welcome you to share your thoughts by commenting below.

As the leader of an organization dedicated to empowering girls, I am heartened by the ads that have recently flooded facebook, twitter, and my email inbox. Companies are advocating for social change, and the issue they’re getting behind is girls.

From Always’ “Like a Girl” video, which tackles the negative connotation of the phrase “like a girl,” to Verizon’s “Inspire her Mind” video, which tackles an issue that I’m particularly passionate about – inspiring more girls to develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills –these companies know that we need to rethink the way we support girls if we want them to test their own limits and become strong leaders.  And I couldn’t agree more.  

Girls are backing down from STEM in alarming numbers – 66 percent of fourth grade girls say they like science and math, but just 18 percent of all college engineering majors are female.  And girls are shying away from leadership at an early age –a report from the Girl Scout Research Institute showed that a girl’s desire to lead is strongest when she is eight years old, yet declines dramatically when she is 16.  

The message is clear: Girls need us – at an early age – to show them what’s possible and give them the tools to get there.

We have organizations right here in Orange County that are giving girls the extra support they need, engaging them with relevant programs and providing a safe space for girls to try new things and build their confidence.  

By volunteering with a local girl-focused nonprofit, you can help girls explore their interest in science, embrace their passion for social justice, and take action to make the world a better place. Great volunteers come from all walks of life – they are men, women, young professionals, retirees, college students and more.  

Of course, supporting these organizations is also vital to ensuring that more girls have access to the opportunities and resources that can make the difference between a future leader and a dream never realized.  

So, keep sharing those inspirational ads and supportive messages – we must talk about these issues if we’re ever going to move the dial.  But I challenge you to take it one step further – as the saying goes, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

As CEO of Girl Scouts of Orange County since 2005, Nancy is focused on ensuring life-changing leadership development experiences for more than 22,000 girls across Orange County. Nancy brings to Girl Scouts over three decades of experience leading large multi-faceted operations and expanding emerging operations, including leading the design, construction and financing of Ocean Journey, a $93 million aquarium facility in Denver, Colorado, and developing plans for a regional center for science, art and culture as CEO of the Naval Training Center Foundation. Nancy has been named a Top Woman in Business by the Orange County Business Journal and one of 50 people to watch by San Diego Magazine and believes that non-profits must embrace and integrate corporate best practices to thrive. 

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