New Girl Scouts curriculum addresses gender bias, fosters economic empowerment, and aligns to current financial education best practices
In time for Girl Scout Cookie season, Charles Schwab announced a partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) to modernize and relaunch the Girl Scouts' financial literacy badges for girls from kindergarten through high school. The new financial literacy curriculum includes topics like building wealth, entrepreneurship, fraud awareness, budgeting for different goals throughout life and investing basics. The emphasis on financial wellness aims to help bridge the gap between what girls learn in school and what they need to feel confident managing finances in life and business.
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Learning about financial literacy is an important component of the Girl Scout Cookie Program, the largest entrepreneurial program for girls in the world, which offers real-world opportunities to apply lessons learned around goal setting, budgeting and planning, critical thinking, collaboration, and organization.
“The lessons learned from the financial literacy badges lay a strong foundation for the cookie sales program,” said Casey Cortese, director, Schwab Community Services and former Girl Scout. “Not only do girls learn the basics of understanding how money works, but they also get a voice in how the funds raised through cookie sales are used by their troops – whether it helps fund special troop activities or to invest in giving back to their communities. They learn the value of money and see first-hand its impact on their current and future financial goals.”
Throughout Girl Scout history, badge programs have included topics related to economics and money management. For example, the Matron Housekeeper badge, introduced in 1913, encouraged girls to understand how groceries were sold, by package, pound or bulk, and the first badge devoted to financial literacy, the Economist Badge, offered between 1922 and 1928, taught girls to track earnings and allowances, and oversee family’s groceries expenses and menu planning to use food economically. In recent decades badge programs like Business-Wise, Consumer Power and Money Sense promoted entrepreneurship, earning, saving and spending money wisely.
Research shows that, even today, boys and girls are often taught different financial topics. For example, boys are more likely than girls to be taught about wealth-building topics like investing, while financial education programming for girls continues to focus on topics such as household money management, budgeting and saving. The new Girl Scout curriculum addresses the gender bias that remains prevalent in the way girls and boys are taught about personal finance.
“In business, women are scarce in top leadership and entrepreneurial positions, representing just 5% of CEOs and 12% of other top executives,” said Wendy Lou, chief revenue officer at Girl Scouts of the USA. “The new and updated GSUSA financial literacy programming is designed to empower and equip Girl Scouts as they contemplate career and personal aspirations, develop the skills needed to make a difference in their own lives and the world, and open an accessible pathway for girls to fill these roles.”
In designing the new financial literacy badge series, Schwab supported GSUSA to create an activity-based experience to engage girls throughout their school years, tailored to their age and interests through a modular approach.
At the earliest stages of the new curriculum, Daisies and Brownies in kindergarten through third grade explore everything from the difference between wants and needs and creating a budget and saving. In grades four through eight, Juniors and Cadettes focus on earning, budgeting, tracking spending, and giving back. In high school, Seniors and Ambassadors sharpen budgeting skills, learn about credit and credit cards, and explore investing and wealth management. An important element of the Girl Scout troop model is that it pairs high-quality programming with active role models and supportive adults, including parents, which is proven to amplify the impact and reach of programming.
“It’s detrimental to send our girls out into the real world without the education and tools that can lead to financial independence,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation and former Girl Scout. “I have seen first-hand how impactful it is for girls to have female financial role models. Our partnership with Girls Scouts will help empower the next generations of young girls to lead at the highest levels of business and society.”
GSUSA is one of the largest youth-serving organizations in the country, offering a myriad of opportunities for Schwab employees to volunteer and engage with local troops on financial literacy topics. In 2022, Schwab and GSUSA piloted volunteer models for financial literacy training in six key Schwab employment locations, aiming to create an effective and replicable employee engagement program that Schwab will launch nationally in 2023.
About Charles Schwab
At Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW) we believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow. We have a history of challenging the status quo in our industry, innovating in ways that benefit investors and the advisors and employers who serve them, and championing our clients’ goals with passion and integrity. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.
About Charles Schwab Foundation
Charles Schwab Foundation is an independent nonprofit public benefit corporation, funded by The Charles Schwab Corporation and classified by the IRS as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation is neither a part of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC) nor its parent company, The Charles Schwab Corporation. Its mission is to educate, volunteer and advocate on behalf of those in need so that everyone has the opportunity to achieve financial well-being. More information is available at www.schwabmoneywise.com/foundation.
About Girl Scouts of the USA
Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit girlscouts.org.