Tell the Boy Scouts: Let Girls Participate in All Programs
NOW commends the Boy Scouts of America’s inclusive policy of welcoming transgender male scouts into all scouting programs–and we hope their programs can be further expanded to include young people of all genders. While girls are allowed into some programs, they are still excluded from joining Cub Packs or Scout Troops, joining the Boy Scout honor society, earning Merit Badges, and competing to earn the organization’s highest rank – that of Eagle Rank.
The U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that does not offer the opportunity for co-ed scouting throughout a young person’s scouting career. Eagle Scouts have access to opportunities exclusive to their rank, including admission into the National Eagle Scout Association, and eligibility for scholarships only available to Eagle Scouts. Additionally, the prestige, character building and leadership training associated with the Eagle Scout rank gives its participants a competitive edge for admission into selective colleges and is a gateway to a career in finance and other fields.
Sydney Ireland, 16-year old NOW member and activist who has been championing a more inclusive policy at the Boy Scouts since she was 12 years old, says in her Change.org petition, “I cannot change my gender to fit the Boy Scouts’ standards, but the Boy Scouts can change their standards to include me. I am determined to be an Eagle Scout. I know I could rise through the ranks and become an Eagle Scout alongside the boys – all I need is the opportunity.”
We applaud the Boy Scouts for starting a discussion on welcoming girls to the Boy Scouts, but we need immediate change. Email Boy Scouts President and CEO of AT&T Randall L. Stephenson at the addresses below and request that he allow girls to join all programs and earn the Eagle Rank.
Read NOW’s full letter to President Stephenson here.