One of the most formative experiences I remember growing up was being a Girl Scout. The organization teaches many important lessons and works to develop girls' confidence, and character. I can remember earning badges and being so excited, not only to build my collection on my Girl Scout vest, but also which ones came easy to me and which ones required more work. The work behind these badges is important. That's why Citi is incredibly proud to announce Citi Foundation's support of Girl Scouts of the USA launch of a new badge program focused on civics that will give girls a greater understanding of democracy and government.
We hope these new efforts will inspire more girls and young women to get involved in their communities and run for office as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which constitutionalized a woman's right to vote. More women than ever before are currently serving in Congress, but women still hold less than 30% of seats in Congress and at the state and local levels today.
In recent years, Girl Scouts in middle and high school have advocated to change three to four state laws per year. Proof that when you give girls the tools and the knowledge, they do engage in their communities! That type of change requires active participation, and we hope our work with Girl Scouts inspires everyone, not just girls, to use their voice to drive progress in our society.
As adults, one of the most important ways that we create positive change is through voting. Ahead of the upcoming U.S. election, Citi is taking steps to make it easier for our colleagues in the U.S. to vote. We have launched a new employee resource with information about local polling locations, absentee ballots, mail-in and early voting, as well as background on many of the candidates who are on the ballot. We have consistently provided paid time off, when necessary, to those who are unable to vote outside of their regularly scheduled work hours. This year, in anticipation that the process at polling locations might take longer, we will accommodate additional paid time off for colleagues to vote if needed.
We can never, ever take that for granted that so many men and women from every race and ethnicity gave everything they had to secure our right to vote.