The Girl Scouts have always been known for their support of education for young women, and they have long been the go-to organization to teach leadership skills to girls. Now, they are taking it a step further by teaching girls the ins and outs of intellectual property, patents, innovation, and entrepreneurship with their new “intellectual property” patch curriculum.
Girl Scouts have the opportunity to earn patches for various achievements. For example, there are patches for volunteering, tutoring, first aid training, financial education, sewing, cooking, gardening, leadership, and so many other areas. Girls will learn about business and how to turn ideas into profitable companies through the intellectual property curriculum. They will have to learn the basics of patent laws as well as the differences between copyrights, trademarks, and patents in order to earn the badges for the program.
This is a big step for the Girl Scouts. Many have praised them for empowering women and teaching them to be independent, but they have also been harshly criticized in the past for catering too much to traditional gender roles. By teaching girls from a young age the importance of following through with ideas and protecting their rights to their ideas, they will be taking a giant leap towards truly helping women succeed in the business world.
The program will probably go through some changes as they try it out, and some are already saying that Girl Scouts are too young to understand the nitty gritty details of patents – but I say it’s awesome. I think we are never too young to understand how innovation shapes the world and how we can each individually be a part of it. I applaud the Girl Scouts and hope that many girls take advantage of this program.