Only 39 percent of girls want to be leaders.
Here at the Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians we’re “girl experts” and not “percentage experts,” but we know enough to be ruffled by this number.
Especially when you think in the reverse: 61 percent of girls don’t want to be leaders.
These numbers, recently discovered in a Girl Scout study, provide an excellent jumping-off point for us. Let’s start with the basics.
Don’t get us wrong. Followers are needed and important. Followers strengthen movements, spread messages, and create change. Leaders require followers.
Every girl should know she CAN lead, and possess the confidence to dig deep and step up when no one else will.
Shouldn’t she know without a doubt that her voice is worth listening to, and her ideas are worth considering. Every girl – regardless of who she is, or where she lives – matters.
Girls that shy away from leadership roles do so because they are afraid of not being liked, or of making a decision that costs them a friend. They’re afraid they’ll be perceived as bossy.
If she chooses not to lead – it should be HER decision – and not because she’s told she CAN’T by a shortsighted adult or arrogant peer.
What can you do to encourage her? Whoever the girl is – the answer is the same:
Show up for her. Tell her she matters. SHOW her she matters.
Caring adults are critical to help girls develop skills like conflict resolution, healthy communication, and problem solving—so that these barriers no longer prevent girls from stepping into more public leadership roles.
You can’t chaperone her for her entire life and keep the bullies away, but you can lay the foundation for courage and confidence to take root, grow within her, and become part of her.