Reflections from the United State of Women Summit

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Girl Scout Ambassadors Tahsin, Katharine and Lalah pose at the United State of Women Summit

“On June 14, I had the opportunity to attend the United State of Women Summit in Washington, DC. I could tell it was going to be a special day from the moment I arrived at the Convention Center: The line of people–nearly all women—waiting to enter easily stretched around the building. During the opening ceremony that morning, I was joined on stage with eight other Girl Scouts from the Greater Washington Region as Tina Tchen, the First Lady’s Chief of Staff, introduced us. Looking out over the crowd, I was struck by the enormity of the event.

This was a meeting of dynamic women and men–world leaders, trailblazers, well-knowns and rising stars–who had come together to share their experiences and develop a positive agenda for women nationally and around the world.  Discussions centered on six major topics important to women: leadership and civic engagement, economic empowerment; health and wellness; educational opportunity; entrepreneurship and innovation; and violence against women. My main takeaway from the summit: societies that provide equal opportunities for girls and boys, women and men are more productive, wealthier and peaceful. I felt fortunate to be able to listen to speakers like President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Oprah Winfrey, and Billie Jean King as they shared their ideas on policy issues.

From my experience as a Girl Scout, I know that building women’s’ confidence starts at a young age. Above all, girls need education.  I attended a panel session on girls and STEM, which highlighted the growing number of programs targeted at keeping girls engaged and interested. In high school I was fortunate to have teachers who encouraged me not to give up on my bioengineering dreams, but I know all girls don’t have this experience. I also attended a panel featuring women entrepreneurs, where I learned that nationally, women make up less than a third of all business owners, and often start out with less money or access to loans.  The lesson many of the successful panelists shared? Know your pitch, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.

The United State of Women Summit began a bigger, nationwide discussion about how to help girls and women fulfill their potential individually and in our communities around the world. I hope to do my part too. I am looking forward to mentoring girls through my continued involvement in Girl Scouts. Over the course of the next year, I will be taking a gap year to volunteer in Washington DC schools through City Year, an Americorps program.  I hope I can work directly to help children build the same confidence, curiosity, and passion for learning that Girl Scouts instilled in me to make the world a better place–one girl, one child at a time.”

~by Gold Award Girl Scout Ambassador Katharine T.

“Attending the United State of Women Summit was an amazing experience. I was in a room full of wonderful, courageous, and inspiring women. Listening to the speakers talk about issues affecting women worldwide made me realize that we first need to spread awareness in order to create solutions.

Attending this event inspired me to speak up about causes I am personally passionate about, such as assuring everyone has access to a quality education. I was able to attend seminars about this very mission, which opened up my eyes to all the amazing organizations that are involved in making education a possibility for more girls. President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Kerry Washington all encouraged me to get out there into the world and make it better. Attending the event inspired me to make a difference and speak up!”

~by Gold Award Girl Scout Ambassador Tahsin A.