Feminist Nerdy Girl Juliette Gordon Low

Juliette Gordon Low(far right) with Girl Scouts
Juliette Gordon Low with Girl Scouts
Other than my mother, one of the most important feminist influences on my life was the Girl Scouts. I work with a Girl Scout Troop Leader, who has a bumper sticker on her truck that says “Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout.” I grew up as a Girl Scout, and I am still proud to have been one. For me, they go hand in hand since my mother was my troop leader for several years!

So many girls have been influenced by the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low. Low was inspired to start the Girl Scouts after having met Lord Baden-Powell (founder of the Boy Scouts) at a party in Scotland. Baden-Powell knew that girls wanted to join the Scouting movement but believed they needed their own organization.

From the beginning, Low wanted the Girl Scouts (changed from Girl Guides through the preference of American girls) to be for all girls. Among her first registrants were girls from an Atlanta orphanage, along with girls from wealthy and influential families. She also wanted Girl Scouts to be for girls of all physical abilities. The first troop of Native American girls was organized in the 1920s, along with a troop of Mexican-American girls. ac5d0ca4-2826-4baa-9d70-5eb0d3b6a98e

Low encouraged girls to be physically active and eat well in addition to engaging them in activities such as camping, telegraphy, and signaling with semaphore flags. She emphasized fun and asked the girls themselves for their preferences in shaping the organization.

Juliette Low inspired me even more in reading about her as an adult. She didn’t start the Girl Scouts until she was 52 years old! She was also deaf in both ears, although she had some residual hearing. She was only as old she let herself be, doing handstands at national conventions, driving on whatever side of the road she wanted because she drove in both England and America. She is the type of woman that I want to be as I get older, and the type of leader I want to be for women.

How many of you Nerdy Girls were once Girl Scouts? What was your favorite scouting moment?