The public-service campaign encourages girls ages 11 to 15 to get involved in science, technology, engineering and math.
Bonnie Ross, head of Microsoft’s Halo game studio, says, “You have the power to bring new worlds to life.” Maya Gupta, a Google research scientist, advises, “Don’t just solve the problem, write the code.” And Lisa Seacat DeLuca, a distinguished engineer at IBM, suggests, “If you can imagine it, it’s possible.”
They are among the women featured in a public-service campaign, which debuted Monday, that encourages girls ages 11 to 15 to get involved in science, technology, engineering and math.
The “She Can STEM” campaign was put together by the Advertising Council in collaboration with General Electric, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Verizon.
The companies advised the Ad Council and the New York office of McCann Worldgroup, which did creative work pro bono, on the campaign’s development. Each also identified a female employee in a STEM field to be featured in the campaign, alongside women who work at Boeing and the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.
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The centerpiece of the campaign are videos in which the seven women discuss with girls what they do and what the opportunities are. The professionals are also featured on the campaign’s website, SheCanStem.com, and in individual profiles on Instagram and in more traditional media.
“When girls don’t feel encouraged and empowered in STEM, we see serious consequences not only for girls and women, but also for the future of innovation in our country,” said Lisa Sherman, president and chief executive of the Ad Council. “If we want women at the forefront of the next generation of STEM leaders, we must show young girls that it is possible.”
The women featured in the campaign, or their employers, will post photos of them taken when they were girls, with a note that says, “If she can STEM, so can you.” The Ad Council will also encourage women in all STEM fields to do the same.
Girls will also be directed to @SheCanSTEM on Instagram, where they can find information on other women working in STEM fields and on resources from the campaign’s partners.
Michelle Peluso, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of IBM, pointed to “so much imagery of cool, nerdy Silicon Valley guys in sneakers” in the technology industry. “We want the girls to see all the amazing women in STEM and be inspired,” she said.
Linda Boff, chairwoman of the Ad Council and chief marketing officer of General Electric, said it was “important to get the attention of young girls and inspire them through real STEM role models they can relate to.”
“It’s about inspiration — it’s about insight,” she continued. “If you show young girls women who have achieved in STEM, hopefully you’re showing them the pathway.”