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Girls & Women

12-Year-Old Girl Scout Calls Out Sexism Like a Boss

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Girls and women everywhere should feel empowered to use any platform at their disposal to draw attention to issues of sexism. You can join us by taking action on this issue and the rest of the Global Goals here.

The future is female and Girl Scouts know it.

When Julianne Speyer, 12, of Russell Township, Ohio, experienced sexism by an adult at a local event, the civic-minded troop member took the initiative to call out the offense publicly so others might learn from it, reports Quartz.

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While participating in a local Fourth of July parade, Speyer noticed that an announcer used sexist language to describe her Girl Scouts troop and wrote a letter to the editor of her local paper, the Geauga County Maple Leaf, to complain about the incident and advocate for herself, according to the report.

“The announcer labeled the Boy Scouts the ‘future leaders of America,'” wrote Speyer, “and he said the Girl Scouts were ‘just having fun.'” 

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Speyer found this comment “very patronizing,” and asked the editor to “help [her] let other people know how much this kind of thing happens and how bad it is,” adding that the announcer’s language is an “insult to girls and women of all ages,” noted Quartz. 

The letter was shared by a reader on Facebook and has since gone viral, being shared more than 96,000 times, according to Cleveland.com, and generating a slew of donations for the Girl Scouts of Northern Ohio.

Speyer was subsequently interviewed by local TV station Cleveland 19 about why she chose to amplify her experience.

“I could just scream the message that girls can be anything they want to be,” said Speyer in the interview on how offended she was by the remarks at the Parade. 

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An organizer for the parade responded to an inquiry by Cleveland 19, stating, “There was an unfortunate misunderstanding of two unrelated comments. The announcer is a volunteer and made an observation that participants were enjoying the parade with no disrespect intended.”

But Speyer’s mother said she is proud of the way her daughter responded to the remarks.

“It is sexism,” Jennifer Speyer told the TV station. “Some people would comment, ‘Oh, we were just saying they were having fun. What’s wrong with saying that?’ But evating one group, and purposefully treating another group as if they’re less than, is wrong.”