Once upon a time, the Girl Scouts awarded their young participants badges, patches, and pins for learning such skills as how to make s'mores, successfully lighting a campfire, and of course golfing. Now, in 2017, young girls will be encouraged to learn to code.
According to Reuters, Girl Scouts has partnered with security company Palo Alto Networks to bring in a new, modern change to their training programs for young women. In a statement released this week, the Girl Scouts announced that “that they will join forces to deliver the first-ever national Girl Scout Cybersecurity badges for girls in grades K–12.”
The statement also noted that they “plan to introduce cybersecurity education to millions of girls across the United States through compelling programming designed to increase their interest and instill in them a valuable 21st-century skillset. This national effort is a huge step toward eliminating traditional barriers to industry access, such as gender and geography, and will target girls as young as five years old, helping to ensure that even the youngest girls have a foundation primed for future life and career success.”
According to the statement, a 2017 Cybersecurity Jobs Report from Cybersecurity Ventures noted a deficit of skilled professionals worldwide. It also noted that only 11 percent of the industry included women professionals. Considering the rise of digital hacks and leaks, the Girl Scouts saw this deficit as an opportunity to train their cookie-touting squads with a skillset that could actually land them a job. Or at least help them maintain their own cyber privacy as adults.
Are the girls trading cookies for coding, or campfires for laptops? Nah. Though, it’s worth noting that the Girl Scouts is the same group that participated in the Women’s March earlier this year. The organization definitely has a reputation for adapting to the needs of the times quicker than its brother organization, the Boy’s Scouts.