Google, Microsoft and the Ad Council partner on 'She Can STEM' campaign

A new campaign from the Ad Council aims to give girls a look at successful women working in STEM jobs.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
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Erin Carson
3 min read

Microsoft's Bonnie Ross talks to young girls about her job.

Ad Council

Somewhere around middle school, girls lose interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects.

There are many possible reasons -- everything from girls not really knowing what STEM jobs are, to persistent stereotypes that STEM isn't for girls, to a lack of role models in STEM professions

Now, the Ad Council, in partnership with companies like Google, Microsoft, GE, IBM, and Verizon, as well as organizations like Black Girls Code, Girls Who Code and the National Center for Women & Information Technology, is launching an ad campaign to combat all that called "She Can STEM."

Starting Monday, platforms like Facebook, Google, MTV, and Twitter will feature ads and programming including women in STEM talking to girls about what they do.


Boeing's Tiera Fletcher works on rockets that could carry humans to Mars. 

Ad Council

In one ad, Bonnie Ross, who is the head of the Halo Game Studio at Microsoft, tells a group of young girls about how she wasn't necessarily a math genius as a kid, but now she gets to build worlds with video game Halo.

"It is absolutely crucial that we inspire girls and help them understand the opportunities that a career in STEM can provide," Ross told CNET. "Girls see themselves as creative, but often don't connect the dots to the creativity empowered through STEM." 

 In another ad, Tiera Fletcher, a structural engineer at Boeing, shows off her work designing and building parts of the rocket that could one day get humans to Mars.

"If we want women at the forefront of the next generation of STEM leaders, we must show young girls that it is possible. If they can see it, they can be it," said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council, in a statement.

The lack of women in STEM has become an increasingly hot topic. Despite making up 47 percent is the college-educated workforce in the US, women make up only 24 percent of jobs in STEM, according to a report from the US Department of Commerce called Women in STEM: 2017 Update.

Jobs in STEM, particularly in information and technology, are some of the highest paying jobs available. Under the Obama administration, the White House projected that there're about a half million open jobs in the sector. IT consulting firm Accenture projected women with tech training could earn a total of $299 billion by 2025. But if they don't pursue these jobs, they'll miss out. 

And whatsmore, there's concern that women and minorities won't have the chance to shape technologies like artificial intelligence that will impact society for years to come.

The campaign will include a website with resources for parents, teachers and the like. On social media, women from partnering companies will post younger pictures of themselves describing how they got to where they are. The idea is "if she can STEM, so can you." She Can STEM is also partnering with YouTubers and Instagram creators to better reach girls in the middle school demographic.

"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," Sherman said.

Solving for XX: The tech industry seeks to overcome outdated ideas about "women in tech."

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