By Olivia Cohen
On October 11, the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America announced that girls will be allowed to join the organization beginning in 2018. The decision was approved unanimously and is strongly opposed by The Girl Scouts of the USA.
Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts have been criticized for their discrimination toward gay and transgender youth. Over the last five years, the organization has changed its policy to become more inclusive, now allowing girls to join.
With this new policy, smaller meeting groups known as Cub Scout dens will remain single gender. This means that girls will be able to complete Boy Scout programs but will only meet amongst other females.
The Girl Scouts USA issued a statement against the decision.
“The need for female leadership has never been clearer or more urgent than it is today — and only Girl Scouts has the expertise to give girls and young women the tools they need for success,” said the organization.
In a Washington Post editorial, Molly E. Reynolds, a recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award, said that the Boy Scouts decision implies that women can only gain respect [via Eagle Scout status] by joining a male organization and achieving their idea of success.
Makenna Meyer, a senior at East Chapel Hill High School and a long-time Girl Scout, agrees with this statement and said the recent development is condescending.
“I feel like it is disrespectful to the Girl Scout organization because it implies that scouting and survival skills are not already available to girls,” said Meyer.
On the opposition, the Boy Scouts said this decision is compatible with the requests of many girls and their families. One of the key points they emphasized was that girls will now be able to achieve the coveted status of Eagle Scout.
Chris Chao, an Eagle Scout and senior at East Chapel Hill High School concurs with the Boy Scout of America’s choice.
“I think it’s a progressive and positive decision,” said Chao. “In our area, Boy Scouts of America is much more popular for older kids compared to Girl Scouts. I think it will give girls an option to continue something they love. Generally, my troop is somewhat uneasy [about the decision]. They don’t really know how to react or how the logistics are going to work.”
Despite Chao’s hopefulness toward gender integration, he thinks the process will take some time and that there may be some “roadblocks” along the way.
No matter one’s stance on the matter, the effects of this landmark decision are sure to unfold over the next decade.