NOW-NYC calls on Boy Scouts to recognize Sydney Ireland and other girls like her

Press Releases / January 31, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Assembly Member Epstein, Elected Officials, and NOW-NYC Call on Boy Scouts to recognize the work of Scout Sydney Ireland and other young women like her

Supporters rally alongside Sydney Ireland in hopes she will be rightfully recognized as an Eagle Scout

NEW YORK, NY — Elected officials and supporters gathered around the Fearless Girl statue on a blistering cold Thursday morning in support of Sydney Ireland, a scout who has helped to break down barriers as a girl member thirteen years ago. On February 1st, the Boy Scouts will launch a program to serve girls aged 11-17, allowing them to join Boy Scout Troops. The new program will be called Scouts BSA, a name change that reflects the change in policy.

Seventeen-year-old Sydney Ireland, who joined the Boy Scouts at age four along with her older brother, has been the catalyst for this historic change. She has spoken at countless Scout meetings and sent scores of emails and letters, lobbying Boy Scout leaders to let her and other girls have the same opportunities boys have had for over 100 years: excellent Boy Scout training and access to everything that follows.

During this historic time, we are asking the Boy Scouts leadership to recognize the work she and so many other young pioneer women have successfully completed by awarding them the ranks and merit badges they have earned, just like any other Boy Scout.

I feel that it’s unjust to not take into consideration Sydney’s Eagle Scout project owing solely to the fact that she is not a boy,” said Assembly Member Epstein. “I ask that you immediately welcome Sydney as a full member, count the valuable work she, and others like her, have done towards earning the Eagle Scout Rank.”

“I have been calling on Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to end discrimination and I am so excited that they are finally ending their ban on young women on February 1st, 2019. We call on the BSA to count all of Rank and Merit Badges, I, and many other girls already completed before February 1st. The BSA was the last western country to end the discriminatory ban against girls and they should now welcome young women,” said Sydney Ireland. “I look forward to the Boy Scouts immediately granting me and other qualified girls the official Eagle Scout recognition. As I said when I first began this journey, ‘I can’t change my gender to fit the Boy Scout standard, but the Boy Scouts can change their policies to let me in.’”

“Just like the Fearless Girl statue, Sydney Ireland is tangible reminder that it’s time for women and girls to get the recognition and opportunities we have long fought for. Sydney started a revolution when she demanded that girls have access to the same opportunities and benefits as boys in the Scouts, and now thanks to those efforts countless young women are able to join the Boy Scout Troops with full rights ending a century long exclusion. I urge the Boy Scouts leadership to do what is right and allow Sydney to earn the Eagle Scout rank and merit badge that she so greatly deserves,” said Congresswoman Maloney.

“My Eagle Scout award was one of the greatest honors of my youth. So, I can say with confidence that Sydney Ireland’s persistence and courage fighting for the rights of girls like her in scouting first and foremost represents why she should be named an Eagle Scout,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “I urge the BSA to recognize her work as soon as possible and will be proud to have Sydney join the ranks as an Eagle Scout.”

“In the work she’s put in since joining the Scouts at age four, Sydney Ireland has epitomized the Scout Oath and Law by being a responsible, committed citizen and leader,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The BSA should demonstrate its new commitments to inclusiveness and bestow upon Sydney and all young women like her the ranks and merit badges they’ve earned.”

“Sydney Ireland led the historic charge so girls and young women could be accepted into the Boy Scouts of America. As one of my constituents, she consistently exemplifies leadership, commitment to community, and brings Boy Scouts’ values to her life each day,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “I call on the organization to immediately recognize Sydney as an official Scout, where she rightly belongs.”

“Sydney Ireland has been a Scout in NYC Troop 414 since she was four. She has done everything the boys have done, they chose her to be their Senior Patrol Leader and run the Troop. Her advocacy has been the catalyst to BSA embracing girls and officially accepting them as members. Yet, the top brass won’t officially accept the documented and Scout leader reviewed skill mastery, rank advancement and merit badges, including her Eagle Project, Sydney has achieved. It’s a slap in the face to her as an exemplary Scout, who overcame all odds and a sad beginning to what should be a positive new chapter in scouting history. Unfortunately, this treatment is all too familiar to women the world over,” said Sonia Ossorio, President of the National Organization for Women – NYC.

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Contact: Rebecca Nieves, 212-979-9696, nievesr@nyassembly.gov