Crockett: Scouting programs must remain separate, while maintaining equality between programs
In Northern California, five children want to join the Boy Scouts because they admire what the organization stands for and want to be part of the legacy. The only problem is that they are all girls.
The girls, who call themselves the “unicorns”, appeared before a panel of Scout leaders earlier this month as part of their ongoing fight to join the group. The Unicorns don’t want to join the Girl Scouts because they feel the Boy Scouts program is more in line with their interests with its number of “action-packed” activities.
But in response to their applications, local Vice President Herb Williams told the San Francisco Chronicle, “There is no provision for girls in the Boy Scouts. It’s a fact. It’s been a fact for 100 years.
While gender inclusion is important, it should be respected that the Boy Scouts of America intends to serve boys and young men over the past century. The group should not have to change its requirements just to accommodate girls now that there are other opportunities, including co-ed Scouting organizations, for girls to join.
At a time when there is an awareness of gender as a construct and where some provision is made for equality, many people may be put off by the idea that girls are not allowed in Boy Scouts. But the rule is not necessarily sexist or discriminatory so much as it recognizes and nurtures the differences between young men and women.
It’s because Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have the right to stay separate at their discretion, for the same reason people have the right to choose single-sex bathrooms over coed bathrooms – everything depends on preference.
What is problematic, however, are people who believe girls shouldn’t join the Boy Scouts because they would emasculate boys.
For those who are against girls joining Boy Scouts for this reason, they should remember that healthy interactions between girls and boys at a young age can help them maintain better relationships as adults. Opportunities in which girls can practice leadership over boys will inspire girls to feel confident to assert themselves in any capacity â from school to the workforce and beyond.
Indeed, some parents argued that allowing girls into the troupe would create competition if girls reached leadership positions, according to ABC News.
But the idea that girls may very well desire leadership positions should be celebrated in our culture. Although we do not yet have a female president, and most American CEOs are men, there will always be a need for young women to aspire to lead.
That being said, there has to be a healthy balance – a balance that can be maintained separately. Although gender-exclusive, organizations should seek to empower young people as well as incorporate education and understanding of the unique challenges that are presented to each gender. This will honor the history of both organizations while ensuring the best gender-specific development by teaching equality and skills to boys and girls in independent environments.
Activities like camping, fishing, and other outdoor pursuits are not gender specific. Instead of seeking to join the Boy Scouts, Unicorns should suggest the types of activities they would like to do either in the Girl Scouts or in another Scouting program of their choice, including co-ed Scouts.
Respecting and adhering to the wishes of the Boy Scouts does not mean that girls support discrimination. Instead, they recognize that while Boy Scouts is an organization for boys, Unicorns can create spaces where their needs will be met without disrupting the stories of others.
Elaina Crockett is a television, radio and film major and a minor in African American studies. His column appears weekly. She can be reached at [emailÂ protected].
Published on November 29, 2015 at 11:21 p.m.