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Girl Scouts Introduce Video Game Design Merit Badge

by Fox Van Allen on April 23, 2013

Girls Scouts of AmericaIf you have a daughter at home, she probably spends a good chunk of time playing video games. If she’s a Girl Scout, she may be spending even more time designing them: The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles have announced a new Game Design merit patch aimed at encouraging more girls to get involved in science- and technology-related careers.

The new patch is a joint effort with the non-profit Women In Games International (WIGI). To earn it, Girl Scout members will be expected to design and program their own video game using provided educational game creation software and assistance from troop leaders and video game industry professionals.

A recent Boston Globe article suggests women have a lot of ground to make up in the video game industry. Only 11 percent of game designers are female, and even more worrying, women only make up 3 percent of programmers. Those who are in the field report rampant sexism, harassment, and significantly lower rates of pay for comparable work – all problems the Girl Scouts want to help combat.

For now, the Game Design merit patch is only available to scouts in Los Angeles, but expansion is already being planned. Explains WIGI steering committee member Sheri Rubin: “Once our patch has been proven effective we will work to create what is necessary to get a nationally recognized badge in place for all Girl Scouts starting with those in 4th through 6th grade and eventually expanding through all levels encompassing 7th through 12th grade.”

The Boy Scouts of America announced the creation of a similar Game Design merit badge in March.


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