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Girl Scout Cookies Hep Break Glass Ceiling

It’s that time of year again when we post on Facebook begging for a hook-up. “Cost isn’t an issue,” we say. “Postage included,” we beg. Vigilantly, we hunt them down and order and then patiently wait for our door-to-door crack dealers, AKA the Girl Scouts. However, the Girl Scout organization is more than a door-to-door “cookie dealer.” It is also an organization taking an active role in helping to break the proverbial glass ceiling.

It is well-known that women are underrepresented in STEM fields. Fewer women engineers and scientists mean fewer patents issued to women. As a result, more patents are issued to male inventors. It should be no surprise there is a patent gender gap. Less than 20 percent of U.S. patents filed (up to the year 2010) included at least one woman inventor.

The Girl Scouts of America aim to change that statistic.

In conjunction with the USPTO and the IPO Education Foundation, the Girl Scout organization promotes innovative thinking among girls. They have created the Intellectual Property (IP) Patch, which is available for Girl Scouts to earn in each of the four different levels: Brownie, Junior, Cadette, and Senior. Each badge is designed with an IP component to teach girls the value of protecting their intellectual property.

Girl Scouts IP Badge STEM

  • Brownie Inventor Badge requires girls to find a problem, make a needs list, solve the problem and share with others.
  • Junior Product Designer Badge has girls identify issues with a product and find an innovative solution for the problem.
  • Cadette Entrepreneur Badge involves the girls brainstorming business ideas, picking one, and identifying their financial requirements.
  • Senior Social Innovator Badge gets the girls brainstorming innovative solutions for larger social problems.

Innovative thinking and invention are at the Girl Scout organization’s core.  Going back to its founder, Juliette Gordon Low, an inventor with two patents. One of her design patents covered the original Girl Scouts trefoil, representing the three-fold promise of the Girl Scouts: Serve God and Country, Help People at All Times, and live by the Girl Scout Law. 

So, the next time you’re devouring a box of those delicious Thin Mint’s, Tagalongs (Peanut Butter Patties), or Samoas (Carmel deLites), remember you are doing more than adding to your waistline. You are contributing to the STEM education of future women innovators and patent holders.

 

 

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