Girl Scouts has released findings from “The State of Girls 2017: Emerging Truths and Troubling Trends” report, a collection of data exploring the overall well-being of girls in the United States. Compiled and released by Girl Scouts of the USA’s Girl Scout Research Institute, this third edition of “The State of Girls” found that, regardless of an increase in high school graduation rates, economic conditions affecting girls in the United States have not fully recovered from the Great Recession. These conditions are leading to increased emotional and physical distress among girls, with obesity, marijuana use, and low self-esteem on the rise.
Florida dropped from No. 36 to No. 39 among rankings for girls’ well-being.
A closer look Florida’s data shows the following:
Health and Well-Being: Girls in Florida are generally healthier now than they were in 2007, despite a slight uptick in girls ages 6-17 with emotional, behavioral or developmental issues. More girls feel safe at school, and fewer girls are overweight or obese.
Demographics: Florida’s girl population is more diverse, with more Latina and Asian girls than 10 years ago. Thirty-four percent of girls ages 5-17 live in immigrant families.
Economics: Poverty rates for girls in Florida have increased to 23 percent of girls ages 5-17 living in poverty, from 16 percent in 2007. The number of girls living in single-parent families rose slightly as well.
Education: More girls are graduating high school than in 2007, but fewer girls ages 3-4 are enrolled in preschool, more than half of girls in fourth grade are not proficient in reading, and nearly three-quarters of eighth-grade girls are not proficient in math.
The report also found that girls thrive in places where their academic achievement is bolstered by activities like Girl Scouts, which enhances and reinforces learning and important life skills.
Girls in lower socioeconomic-status homes who need an early educational boost are especially propelled by the Girl Scout experience. Through Girl Scouts, these girls can break through deeply embedded societal barriers that otherwise might hold them back from achieving their full potential. Girls thrive when connected with a committed troop leader who can share her own background, experience, and social network.
Society is just not making the investment in girls that is necessary to sustain their long-term development and success. “The State of Girls” highlights a tipping point for girls in this country and that we need to do something now, as the need for female leadership grows ever more apparent.
Increasing the number of women in leadership positions should matter to anyone who cares about the future of our nation and our world, yet instead of doing what we can to lift girls up, too often society tells them to sit down. Girls are our future leaders; we need their voices in the boardroom, the courtroom, the caucus room, and the laboratory. Girl Scouts is about having an experience that forever shapes and defines a girl’s understanding of herself and what she can become.
To read more about “The State of Girls,” or to learn how Girl Scouts transforms today’s girls into tomorrow’s leaders, please visit www.girlscouts.org/research.