Selling Girl Scout cookies is a great way to teach young girls about leadership and business management. Apparently, cookie-selling also comes with some baked-in sexism — and one mother is fed up.
Jen Rotar, noticed that a survey her daughter's troop in Berthoud, Colorado received about cookie-selling prizes is incredibly gendered. The troops in her area who sell the most cookies in 2017 can choose from prizes like plush toys, play spatulas, jewelry boxes, nail wraps, mixing bowls, and cookie stamps.
A kickball and a water bottle are the only items offered on the 20-item survey that have anything to do with physical activity.Rotar has created a petition that urges Anne Maria Chávez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, to offer better prize options. While Rotar noted that some girls may like the jewelry boxes and nail wraps. However, she thinks it's unfair to only offer these options for all Girl Scouts.
"We are Scouts — why can't the incentives for participation have at least a balance of camping, outdoors or activity-themed prizes?" Rotar asked in the Change petition. "Why must girls be offered a majority of items that emphasize traditional feminine appearance, fashion, cooking…? Please stop pigeonholing girls into traditional roles and give them choices that reflect their wide range of interests that have nothing to do with gender."
In the petition, Rotar suggests alternatives prizes like binoculars, telescopes, compasses, science kits, and tents.
Rotar has received amazing responses from the Scouts community since starting the petition. She's even been contacted by the Girl Scout Council in Colorado, but hasn't heard from the Girl Scout's national organization.
"I am sincerely grateful for everyone's participation in this petition," Rotar said in a petition update. "I love being a Girl Scout leader and I think that modeling 'Take Action' in our own lives is one of the best things that we can do for our girls."
The Girl Scouts are supposed to help girls "build courage, confidence, and character in order to make the world a better place." In order to fulfill this mission, it's essential to take a more proactive and balanced approach when choosing these prizes.
There's over 2.5 million girls and women involved in Girl Scouts across the US, so the decisions the organization makes set an example. So, while choosing cookie-selling prizes is seemingly small, it has a great impact on young girls. Life isn't all spatulas and nail polish, and these prizes should reflect that.
Girls deserve that much.