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The Boston Globe

Business

Narrowing the gender gap in male-dominated industries

Girl Scouts, other groups help boost middle schoolers’ self-confidence and aid in expanding their career goals

When it comes to advice about their futures, girls often hear adults tell them: “Do what makes you happy.” Yet that well-intentioned advice can be undermined by the fact that most middle school girls are surrounded by messages in the media and their communities that dissuade them from leadership positions, especially in science, technology, and math.

A new study by Simmons College finds that Girl Scouts are more self-confident and have broader career aspirations — less limited by gender stereotypes — than girls who are not involved in similar organizations. The report, done in conjunction with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, shows that organizations that serve girls boost their confidence and should be part of a larger effort to improve women’s participation in top roles in society.

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