The State of Oklahoma for Today’s Young Woman
Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking to a very special group of women: The Juliette Low Leadership Society with the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma. These organizations work tirelessly to support young women and to battle the negative statistics that are holding females back in Oklahoma.
The Girl Scouts as an organization focuses on empowering young girls and has seen this country through many years of progress in equality for women. However despite the many opportunities that have been made for women in recent history, we still have more barriers to break for our girls of today, and the women, families, and communities of tomorrow.
The women of Oklahoma today struggle with wage inequity, poverty, teen pregnancy, family responsibility, and insufficient education or job skills, making achieving equality and economic self-sufficiency seem out of reach. The facts are startling: Women in Oklahoma struggle to earn only 75 cents for every dollar men earn. They have the 2nd highest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation and nearly 20% of Oklahoma girls never graduate high school. As a country we need to invest more in programs intended for girls and young women as many states need these to survive. The Girl Scouts and sponsors of the organization know that investing in today's young women and girls will benefit their families, community, and national economy.
The Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma is the leading funder for change in Oklahoma for women and girls and they strongly support the Girl Scouts. For the past two decades, thanks to grants from The Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma, women and girls funds have improved access to education, jobs and asset growth. These grants can directly be shown to have helped reduce teen pregnancy rates, increased the number of women and girls who complete their education, support positive early job experiences and strengthen sustainable economic self-sufficiency. As America increase investments, these achievements will continue to grow in Oklahoma and across the country. At the Women's Foundation of Oklahoma, they know that when women and girls prosper, communities thrive.
The Girl Scouts organization has been around for over 100 years – founder Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout Troop in 1912 and the Girl Scouts of the USA was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1950. Today there are 3.2 million Girl Scouts – 2.3 million girl members and 890,000 adult members working primarily as volunteers. This leadership and support for young women has helps girls every day learn to believe in themselves and work hard to succeed in this country. However we still have a ways to go. There is still much to be done in our nation to better the opportunities for young women. This is the land of opportunity, we must support organizations like The Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma, The Girl Scouts, and our local groups who are helping young women and girls find their place and succeed.