Girl Scouts Unveils 42 New STEM-Inspired Badges To Empower Young Girls

If you're like me and were in Girl Scouts back in the day — but only for a brief amount of time — then you probably remember having a vest or a sash, and earning various badges. Or maybe it's all a bit fuzzy, and you only really remember selling boxes upon boxes of delicious cookies. Either way, Girls Scouts has come a long way since the '90s. Case in point: The Girls Scouts unveiled 42 new badges focusing on tech, science, and the outdoors, and it all sounds seriously empowering.

On Tuesday, July 16, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) revealed 42 new badges for girls in grades K–12, giving members the opportunity to make their own choices about how they want to experience and influence the world. From "Coding for Good" badges to "Outdoor High Adventure" badges, there's something for everyone. But the goal of each badge is the same — to prepare girls for leadership roles and continued success.

"Girl Scout programming has long promoted independent decision making, which helps girls develop agency, challenge themselves to move beyond their comfort zones, and build confidence in their leadership abilities," a press release from the GSUSA reads. "Giving girls choices is important for developing their sense of self, their own voice, and gender equality — research from the World Bank Group shows that increasing women’s agency and decision-making abilities is key to improving their lives, communities, and the world."

So, what are these new and exciting badges, you ask? Let's take a look. On top of existing badges, girls in grades 6-12 will be able to tackle:

  • Nine Cybersecurity badges. For these badges, they can complete activities ranging from decrypting and encrypting messages, to learning proper protection methods for devices, to exploring real-world hacking scenarios.
  • Three Space Science badges will also be up for grabs, through which girls can explore topics such as the universe and their place in it, properties of light, and inspiring careers in space science.

Meanwhile, girls in kindergarten through grade 12 will able to earn:

  • 12 Outdoor High Adventure badges. These include activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, backpacking, rock-climbing, and tree-climbing. Pursuing these badges aims to give girls "the confidence to support one another, take healthy risks, and spend dedicated time in nature." What's more is these are the first Girl Scout badges that members can earn by choosing one of two self-directed paths.
  • 18 Coding for Good badges, which teach girls the basics of coding as well as how "every stage of the coding process provides girls with opportunities to use their skills for good." Girls will learn about algorithms in age-appropriate, creative ways — such as coding positive memes to spread a message about a cause they care about. They can also design a digital game to educate others about an issue, along with an app to promote healthy habits.

As you might have already been able to tell, these badges aim to empower girls and to remind them that they're capable of anything. Needless to say, it's an important message for young girls who live in a society where gender stereotypes are regularly reinforced.

“Girl Scouts has ignited the power and potential of girls for over a century, and we are committed to ensuring that today’s girls are the future of American leadership,” GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo said in the news release. “Girl Scouts is where girls can explore new subjects, discover their passions, learn to take smart risks, and become their best, most confident selves — whether they want to become a NASA astronaut, an entrepreneur, a rock climber, a coder, or a cybersecurity agent.”

Honestly, I'm super excited about these 42 new badge options (I wouldn't mind earning one of those coding badges, to be honest), especially since my daughter is starting kindergarten this fall. I've been on the fence about whether to get her involved in Girl Scouts, but I think these empowering badges might have just inspired me to take the plunge.