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For over 100 years, the term “Eagle Scout” has been synonymous with hard work, dedication — and recognition for young men. 

But times and rules have changed, and for the first time ever, several young women have earned the rank of Eagle Scout through the Boy Scouts of America. 

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Before 2017, the organization did not allow girls to participate at all — once they could, tens of thousands leapt at the chance. And until just last year, girls could not earn its highest rank. That’s not the case anymore either — which is why this year’s class of Eagle Scouts includes young women from all over the country. 

Thanks to recent rule changes, the 2020 crop of Eagle Scouts includes a handful of hard-working, history-making young women. (Credit: Boy Scouts of America Facebook page)
Thanks to recent rule changes, the 2020 crop of Eagle Scouts includes a handful of hard-working, history-making young women. (Credit: Boy Scouts of America Facebook page)

Among them are Sydney Ireland and Beatrix Bisceglia from New York City; Isabella Tunney from Minnesota; and Victoria Rader from Arizona. They earned the honor — one that only about 4 percent of all scouts have ever achieved — by coordinating projects like the socially distanced construction of a bench, or sewing up and sending out masks by the hundreds.

Each of them understands the historic nature of the achievement. “For so long, women weren’t afforded that same opportunity simply because of our gender, and so I’m very excited that now they are allowing women to achieve this highly esteemed rank,” Ireland says.

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Of course, young women aren’t strangers to making history. Climate change activist Greta Thunberg, education pioneer Malala Yousafzai, Mari Copeny (or Little Miss Flint), who speaks out for clean water access and underprivileged youth, are also showing us how to lead the way at any age.

[Related: Young Women Are Leading the Zero-Waste Movement]

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