Never underestimate how
A simple convertsation
Can change the world

By Melanie Schild

This article is brought to you by The Wendy Thompson Lending Team. More Than A Mortgage!
One of my favorite times of the day was the drive to school with my girls. In a world of constant hustle and bustle, I loved the uninterrupted conversation the commute provided with my two daughters.


One day, the conversation centered around an upcoming seventh-grade student government election.   I was excited my daughter had taken an interest in student government. She had worked hard developing her platform, creating campaign materials, and speaking with her peers. Seeing this commitment made this parent very proud.
With a natural interest in girl leadership, I inquired how she thought the election would go. My daughter’s expression changed to resignation. “I won’t get it.”


“Hmmm,” I thought, “What about Sarah?”—another very active and bright girl in her grade. “No, she won’t get it either,” replied my daughter. Then I asked about another girl who was running, and the answer was still no.  Finally, I asked, “Well, who do you think will win then?”
My daughter mentioned a boy in her classroom who I hadn’t heard her talk about before. “He will win,” she said, “because none of the girls will vote for each other. No one would want the other one to win.”
Wow!  That innocent conversation really pointed out that as women we start at an early age being fearful of the success of other girls and women.  As I began telling the story to friends and co-workers, I knew we were on to something.  I heard first hand how many women and girls had been affected by comparison and competition, the fear of other females being better than oneself.   The competition might have started on the playground, but it was still alive and well in the workplace or the PTA.
Out of a normal mother-daughter conversation, the Stand Beside Her Movement was born.
As women, we all been affected by the constant comparison and competition among each other.  And not the healthy I am going to try my best and you try your best, but the kind that tears down our self-esteem, that makes us question if we are good enough or if we are lacking the right skills, looks or abilities to be our best.  The competition and comparison start as early as kindergarten when girls notice certain attributes that other girls have who are getting the teacher’s attention, the one who gets to say the pledge or is called on.  Girls start developing social circles and having a need to belong around that same time, that is why organizations like Girl Scouts is so important for a girl’s development and sense of I can do anything.
National Stand Beside Her Movement
but continues into adulthood. In the media, television shows and advertisements display women in conflict and turn it into entertainment. In the workplace, women find themselves being pit against each other instead of opening the door for more women at the table. Moms shame other moms. Daughters hear and bear witness to the competition—and the cycle of negativity continues.
Our Girl Scout council knew we were onto something – an idea that could change the way women interact with each other from now into the future. That idea was the National Stand Beside Her Movement.  The National Stand Beside Her Movement encourages girls and women to connect and support each other; to value ourselves and have the confidence to celebrate our own unique gifts and applaud the successes of others. We commit to change our current culture of negative comparison and competition and learn to celebrate and lift up each woman and girl so that together, we can change the world.
The National Stand Beside Her Movement has reached girls and women from Hawaii to Maine.  With the support of corporations like FedEx.  Corporations like FedEx and ServiceMaster are utilizing their women’s initiative groups to support the movement and challenge other corporations to Stand Beside Her.
The best part of this movement is that girls are engaged, really engaged… they are putting positive posters in their schools, inviting new friends to sit at the table at lunch, and finding ways to talk about hard issues like mental health in teens or girls not being supportive of each other.  Girl Scouts across the country are challenging each other to Stand Beside Her by participating in a troop video challenge.  All Girl Scout troops are encouraged to take a stand against female aggression and comparison, to show support for each other and celebrate the gift of each girl being her unique self.    The mission of the Stand Beside Her movement resonates with girls and women.
At 9 years old, a girl’s self-esteem peaks—and then takes a nose dive. 39 percent of girls have been put down or discouraged when trying to lead. As a concerned citizen and mother raising two girls, I dream of a world where women Stand Beside Her—a world where girls are supported to fulfill their dreams and reach their full potential. It’s time to stop the cycle of constant comparison and competition, where we wonder if we are good enough.
The facts affecting women are already unbearable. Only 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOS are women and the year it is estimated that women will reach parity with men in leadership roles in our country is 2085. We can’t fill that gap alone. The National Stand Beside Her Movement is a call to action that encourages girls and women to connect and support each other; to value ourselves and have the confidence to celebrate our own unique gifts and applaud the successes of others. We commit to change our current culture of negative comparison and competition and learn to celebrate and lift up each woman and girl so that together, we can change the world.
Become a part of the movement—for the next generation of women leaders and the girl you once were. Take a stand with us—now, during Stand Beside Her Week (October 28th – November 3rd), and every week. Want to join? Visit
Melanie Schild became CEO of Girl Scouts Heart of the South in 2014. Since coming to Girl Scouts, she started along with Girls the National Stand Beside Her movement as well as  numerous leadership programs, including the Kaleidoscope National Leadership Conference, the She Leads Leadership program and the We Lead Institute.  Her most recent project has been helping girls create National Working Mother’s Day which was celebrated for the first-time last year.  Previously, she served as the Executive Director of Kappa Delta Sorority and Kappa Delta Foundation, Inc., and served on numerous boards including serving as President of the Association of Fraternity Executives, President of National Panhellenic Conference Executives and a national trainer for the Association of Junior Leagues International.
Stand Beside her
Guest Blogger //
Created by Girl Scouts Heart of the South, headquartered in Memphis, TN, the National Stand Beside Her Movement is a call to action initiative to mentor, support and develop women and girls; to end comparison and competition and create more collaboration and support for one another. The Stand Beside Her Movement culminates each year during the last week of October with National Side Beside Her Week to encourage people to commit to supporting girls and women in their lives, their home, their office and in their community. Stand Beside Her also hosts Stand Beside Her Memphis – a group of women and girl serving organizations in the Greater Memphis Area working together to carry out the Stand Beside Her mission on a local level.

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