The Boy Scouts of America have announced that girls can now become Cub Scouts. Becoming a Cub is the first step on the way to attaining the Boy Scouts' highest honor of Eagle Scout. The organization has been primarily for boys since its inception over a century ago, but a unanimous vote from its board of directors pushed the new mandate through according to a NBC News report.
Beginning in 2018 girls will be allowed to join Cub Scout "dens" as the groups are called. However, they will all be single-gender. No mixing of boys and girls. In addition, starting in 2019 young women will be allowed to join a new separate group that will guide them on the path to becoming Eagle Scouts.
Chief executive of the Boy Scouts Michael Surbaugh said, "We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children."
In the NBC piece, the Boy Scouts of America said it conducted two nationwide surveys that showed parents of children not involved in the Scouts were very interested in getting their daughters signed up.
Earlier in 2017 teenager Sydney Ireland decided to make a push for girls to be able to get the exclusive Eagle Scout rank after her brother became one. This caught the attention of the National Organization for Women, who also joined the cause of the BSA to make a change.
"The Girl Scouts is a great organization, but it's just not the program that I want to be part of. I think girls should just have the opportunity to be a member of any organization they want regardless of gender," Ireland told NBC News.