Inches from the Charging Bull statue near Wall Street in New York City, the Fearless Girl statue stands as a symbol of the need for companies to add more women to their boards of directors. Just a few blocks away, inside the Museum of the American Indian, a sea of green, tan, and brown-vested girls ruffled in their seats yesterday, applauding Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. They had gathered there for a similar reason: to support women’s rights and gender equality.
This year, the Girl Scouts of New York are celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York — three years before the 19th amendment granted suffrage to women across the United States. To mark the event, the New York State Women’s Suffrage Commission and Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York have joined forces to create a new patch celebrating the history of the women’s movement and bearing the face of Susan B. Anthony.
As Hochul explained to us, the meaning of the patch goes beyond winning the right to vote. It represents a much larger movement, one that empowers young women to realize their equal role in society. While Governor Andrew Cuomo recently put through two executive orders addressing the wage gap, she believes young women must continue to push for justice.
"Our challenges are still in front of us," Hochul told Refinery29. "We are never done with the fight that began in our state in 1848. We continue to fight together.”
In order to obtain the Centennial of Women's Suffrage patch, Girl Scouts must complete a series of tasks, from researching key figures in the women’s suffrage movement to creating their own suffrage poster and visiting the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls.
"I want girls to have attitude. I think girls are starting to develop it in a positive way, that translates, to me, into confidence." Hochul told Refinery29. "And that's often what young women are lacking when there are opportunities before them. I like the image of girls in a position of being confident of their abilities, and knowing they've got something tremendous to offer."
“The civics component of Girls Scouting is critical in helping girls understand the importance of voting and the electoral process," Mary Buszuwski, Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York, said in a statement. "Not just here, but around the world. Democracy is not a spectator sport. Our hope is that this patch program will encourage all of our girls to have a better understanding of the significance of participating in our democratic system, from exercising their right to vote, to running for office, to serving their constituents with the same passion for service and values that they learned as a Girl Scout.”