When I was a young girl, one of my biggest dreams was to be a cub scout. My little brother got to join the first cub scout pack in our area, but of course, we couldn’t join. Luckily, my brother let my twin sister and I learn right along side him, even if we couldn’t go to the meetings. To this day, all three of us can still do parts of their little chant – “Akeyla, DyB, DyB, DyB, and, DOB Dob Dob”. Do your best!
We helped him earn his badges, and watched longingly while mom sewed them onto his uniform. Even if there had been a brownie or girl guide pack in our area, I didn’t want to join them – the scouts just seemed so much cooler and more fun. The movie Jungle Book and the Scouts had Akela – an exotic sounding name – and iconic symbol of the Scouts program. The local hall kept the cub scout symbols tucked in the basement – taunting me every time we went downstairs to play. At that time, it was hard for me to understand why I couldn’t join.
But Scouts was one of just a string of cooler things that boys got to do simply because they were boys. Boys got to wear blue – and blue jeans – long before girls. We were stuck with frills, lace, and pink. In sports, the boys team got the better crowds and bigger cheers. News coverage favoured them. We ( I mean girls in general) were simply the opening act, even if the girls teams were often more successful. Hockey and baseball were only for boys. We girls were limited in what we could do. We took home economics, book keeping, and typing while the boys got science, math, and shop. I’m over generalizing, but you get the picture – subtle exclusion was the story of women’s lives.
Thankfully times change. Much to my delight, I learned that Scouts are now letting in girls. That doesn’t mean the Girl Guide program should be scrapped – I’m sure it too is a wonderful program. It just means that young kids now get to choose which organization they prefer. Some boys are better suited to the Guides program, just as some girls fit better with Scouts. It’s not rocket science – but it’s taken until the 21st century for something so simple to occur.
Since I went to school, the gender gap has narrowed. Choices are opening up every day. Little girls now have supreme court judges, astronauts, bosses, welders, and even super heroes to look up to. “We’ve come a long way, baby!”.
The gender equality movement is not perfect – many people have gone way too far in their militant desire for political correctness. But I’m glad of the small, simple changes – and that any girl that wants to go to a scout meeting and recite the oath to Akela, can now do so. Scouts rule!