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updated: 4/19/2013 11:49 PM

Can Today's Girls Have It All?

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Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois

A new report by the Girl Scout Research Institute reveals girls feel optimistic about their financial futures, yet are less than fully knowledgeable about essential financial principles and instruments, from using credit cards to establishing good credit. Just 12% of the girls surveyed say they feel confident in making financial decisions.

The study, Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy, comes out at a time of continued economic uncertainty. The country's recovery from the 2009 recession has been marked by slow economic growth and high unemployment, as well as increasing concern over the costs of a college education and the unprecedented levels of student loan indebtedness.

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The study surveyed 1,040 girls ages 8--17 and found girls are averse to debt. However, in order to avoid debt, these girls say they need more education about how credit works. In fact, nearly 4 in 10 girls say they don't know how to use a credit card, only 38% know what a credit score is, and just 37% know how credit card interest and fees work. Perhaps not surprisingly, a vast majority (90%) say it is important for them to learn how to manage their money.

Despite the recession and economic uncertainty, girls are enthusiastic about their financial futures. Some 88% say they are likely to make more money than their parents, and nearly all girls say it is likely they will have jobs or careers they enjoy (98%), be able to provide for their families (96%), and own their own homes (95%) one day.

This generation of girls is financially empowered and independent. A great majority feels gender is no barrier to what they can accomplish financially, and they envision a future family structure where they are fully engaged in financial decision making and planning. When it comes to financial capability, 7 in 10 girls say both men and women are equally likely to be financially responsible (73%) or in a lot of debt (72%).

Girl Scouts offers a financial empowerment program that ensures girls have the opportunities to build their business sense and hone their financial literacy skills. Girls build on these skills as they progress through the K−12 curriculum to become knowledgeable, confident, and self-reliant participants in a global economy. Whether a girl is working to earn the Financing My Future badge or the Money Manager badge, she is developing financial savvy, business skills, and innovative thinking.

The Girl Scout Research Institute (www.girlscouts.org/research), formed in 2000, is a vital extension of Girl Scouts of the USA's commitment to addressing the complex and ever-changing needs of girls. Comprised of a dedicated staff and advisors who are experts in child develop¬ment, academia, government, business, and the not-for-profit sector, the institute conducts original research, evaluation, and outcomes-measurement studies; releases critical facts and findings; and provides resources essential for the advancement of the well-being and safety of girls living in today's world. The GSRI also informs program, public policy, and advocacy for Girl Scouting.

Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois serves over 18,000 girls and 5,500 adult volunteers in parts or all of Boone, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago counties.

Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, girls in grades K through 12 are engaged in discovering themselves, connecting with others, and taking action to make the world a better place. Girls develop leadership potential by participating in age-appropriate activities that enable them to discover their values, skills, and the world around them. Activities in science and technology, business and economic literacy, and outdoor and environmental awareness provide girls with opportunities for fun and friendship while fostering the development of leadership skills and self-esteem. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, visit www.girlscoutsni.org or call 1-800-242-5591.

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