, Girl Scout History Project
Juliette Gordon Low

As any Girl Scout will tell you, October 31 is more than just Halloween. It also is the birthday of our founder. Juliette Gordon Low was born on October 31, 1860, in Savannah, Georgia.

Today the movement she began in 1912 faces a new challenge, with the recent announcement that the Boy Scouts are opening membership to girls

While that news was not entirely a surprise, I have been shocked by much of the media coverage. In newspapers, on television, and across the internet, I’ve seen the same question, “Why would girls want to join the Boy Scouts?” The immediate answer is almost always “so they can earn the Eagle Scout,” followed by a long ode to its amazingness.

Over and over, reporters insist that the Girl Scouts have no equivalent award. I have grown hoarse screaming at the television, GOLD AWARD, GOLD AWARD, GOLD AWARD.

, Girl Scout History ProjectDespite celebrating the centennial of the highest awards last year, public awareness still is lacking. We know the reasons, such as the penchant for renaming the highest award every 10 years or so.

But inspired by our founder and her playful spirit, I hereby pledge to change how I speak about the Gold Award. For too long, I’ve described it as “Eagle Scout for girls.” No more.

JGL was known for standing on her head, an unexpected move that livened up any dull meeting. So I am going to do a 180-turn in how I approach these prestigious awards. The Gold Award should exist on its own, it should not need to be defined in relation to another award. It is not a feminized version of a male award. It’s not an Eagle in a dress.

, Girl Scout History Project
The Gold Award for Boys

From now on, I will describe Eagle Scout as the “Gold Award for boys.”

Who’s with me?

©2017 Ann Robertson

7 responses to “A Pledge for Founder’s Day”

  1. I always say, “It’s the highest award you can earn as a Girl Scout. And I earned it in 1989!”

    1. I earned my in 1983, my daughter in 2015!!

  2. FWIW, your description is plucky, but still false equivalency. :^) Eagle Scout is a rank, not an award. GS’ highest awards require girls to create highly individualized paths to success, unlike Eagle Scout, which requires youth to earn ranks learning a shared checklist of skills with a few electives and time in service and leadership at each rank. These are two very different processes, thus the two Scouting programs are very different. Let’s please stop comparing altogether. Are both Gold Award and Eagle Scout admirable goals? Absolutely! Do both get the same weight in societal thinking? Perhaps not everywhere, but making comparisons will never fix that — esteem will only be gained by educating the public on what a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award stands for — the work behind it. Marketing GS strengths is what is called for here, and letting people know how many have earned it. abrown95 has a great answer!

  3. I won’t call it the Gold award for Boy Scouts because it disrespects the boys who earned Eagle.Despite the argument of which is harder to earn, those boys (who have no part of this debate) deserve every bit of the respect and recognition we are fighting to get our girls. Calling it the Gold Award for Boy Scouts doesn’t lift up the status of the Gold Award, doesn’t allow for educating on what or how prestigious the Gold Award is for our girls. And frankly this just seems a bit catty, counter-productive and IM
    O isn’t scout like.

  4. Love that. We can be very proud of our Gold Award Girl Scouts. 🙂

  5. Well this just made me sad. as a leader in both groups and parent of a Girl Scout Gold Award, and Eagle Scout, when you hear people say there isn’t anything like Eagle Scout in Girl Scouts, write the reporters name down locate him and then educate him. comparing the two need to stop, one is a rank the other is an award. They are not the same. The only way they are the same is each is the highest award/rank that organization has for a scout. But don’t call Eagle Scout the Gold award for Boys, or the Gold Award is the Eagle Scout for Girls. because neither is true

  6. Women and girls are constantly trying to get respect for what they accomplish. the world is run by men and we must continue the battle to earn equal recognition. And we will – we must educate our sons that what we do is equally important and that someday the US will equal other nations in having a woman as head of government !

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