Verizon's brilliant ad to get more women into tech

Featuring one incredible, painful statistic, Verizon shows how the things girls hear when they're young puts them off a career in tech.

Chris Matyszczyk

Girls with power tools? Oh, no. Verizon/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When I was little, my mom and dad kept encouraging me to be a doctor or a priest.

And now look, I'm both -- offering cures to the patently unwell and ministering to the spiritually barren.

If only everyone could have experienced such marvelous and caring direction.

Many little girls don't. Their parents don't want them to go into things like math and science. They discourage them from getting involved in "boy's things." And that discouragement lives with them.

A poignant, superb ad from Verizon makes that very clear.

It centers on one alarming statistic: 66 percent of fourth-grade girls say they like science and math. A mere 18 percent of college engineering majors are female.

Here we have one reason why.

Parents who don't want their little girls to dirty their pretty dresses. Parents who don't want their teen girls to get involved in projects that occupy their minds and their bedrooms.

And parents who think a girl should never hold a power tool.

It's beautifully played. Especially by the girl who's forced to hand over a drill to her brother and barely suppresses her anger.

I tend to believe in ads a little more aggressive than this on occasion.

I would rather have had the girl keep the drill, wander over to her dad and smilingly hiss: "Let me drill something into your head, daddy, you myopic, sexist halfwit."

However, I understand the constraints imposed by large corporations when approving ads about disapproving dads.