Sandy Souder

From Girl Scouts to Women's Rights Movement

“The sisterhood created in Girl Scout camps and troops translated, for me, to sisterhood in the Women’s Rights Movement.” That’s how Sandy Silverman Souder describes her Girl Scout experience in New Jersey during the 1960s.

By the time she attended college the climate in the United States was changing and it was possible for Souder to take a leadership role in the women’s movement. Her volunteer efforts lead to the creation of the country’s first woman’s center, The Women’s Place, in Princeton NJ.

“Girl Scouts helped convince me that women need to persist in whatever they try to do. I was the National Coordinator of the N.O.W. Task Force Against Rape and we reformed well over half the sexual assaults statutes in the US.” Those rape law statutes have been upheld for nearly 40 years, thanks to Souder’s efforts.

She hasn’t stopped being an advocate for women. In Connecticut Sandy joined the police force under New Haven’s first woman chief of police. She fought to change laws so that women, blacks and Hispanics on the police force received the pay and benefits they deserved.

She has been a sex crimes unit investigator. She started the witness protection unit in Syracuse as grant writer. She continues to be a champion for crimes against women in Cayuga County, NY. Currently she serves the National Women’s Hall of Fame as a grant writer.

The Girl Scouts offers an “air of independence as nothing else does at that age,” Souder reflects. “I think GS helped teach me to lead. I ran many projects, including as Senior District Attorney Investigator for the Onondaga County DA’s Witness Protection Program.”

Girl Scouts provides a major avenue for girls to get a sense of themselves. Sandy Souder offers kudos to the women who were/are our leaders.

Sandy Souder
Skaneateles, NY
Self-employed grant writer (and more)