Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that its board of directors unanimously voted to allow girls into the Boy Scouts.
Girls will be able to join the organization’s Cub Scout program, for children in grades 1-5, and earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest ranking in the Boy Scouts, the group said in a release.
According to the Boy Scouts, this comes after the organization looked at results from research efforts and received requests from families and girls over the years to make the change. The release also said that the group found more families are looking to take part in activities that serve the entire family for numerous reasons. They also worked with experts to show the program was relevant to young women.
Boy Scouts of America has offered co-ed programs in Exploring, Venturing and its STEM pilot program, but this change will open up the Eagle Scout rank, which was previously unattainable through those programs.
The change takes effect in 2018 when girls can begin signing up for Cub Scouts and the release says Cub Scout packs will remain single gender. Existing Boy Scout packs (which is for children aged 11-17) can choose between three options: make a new all-girl pack, make a co-ed a pack for girls and boys or remain an all-boy pack. A In 2018, the program for older girls to earn the Eagle Scout rank will be announced, which be implemented in 2019.