Women make up half of the total college-educated workforce in the US, but only constitute 27% of the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) workforce, according to the US Census Bureau. In order to encourage girls and non-binary youths to pursue their interests in STEM, the Ad Council has launched a PSA starring the anchors of NBC’s Today Show.
It forms part of a wider national campaign ‘She Can STEM,’ created by Deloitte digital in collaboration with the Ad Council, and If/Then, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies that supports women innovators in STEM careers by providing grants and storytelling opportunities to lift them up as role models.
Research shows that many girls lose interest in STEM as early as middle school, and this path continues through high school and college, ultimately leading to an underrepresentation of women in STEM careers. ‘She Can STEM’ aims to dismantle the intimidating perceived barrier of STEM fields by showing girls and non-binary and trans youth how fun, messy and accessible STEM can be, encouraging them to dive in, no matter where they are in their STEM journey.
In the PSA, NBC anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, Craig Melvin and Carson Daly feature in an on-set daydream where the team is envisioned as students in a 1970s classroom talking about what they hope to be when they grow up.
STEM careers that were once impossible for women are held up as examples of exciting opportunities, as the children rattle off a list of all the opportunities in STEM they would love to pursue.
The PSA – which first aired before the Super Bowl LVI on February 13 – also features STEM role models Tiffany Kelly, Mitu Khandaker and Karina Popovich, who are part of the AAAS If/Then Ambassadors Program to encourage more young women to explore careers in STEM.
The PSA ends with ‘STEM has come a long way. She Can STEM’ and directs audiences to SheCanSTEM.com, where they can start exploring stories of diverse STEM role models.
“So many kids start off with big dreams, dreams that can help our world be more innovative, collaborative and cutting edge, but then they get discouraged along the way. Together with Today, Deloitte Digital, If/Then and NBCUniversal, we’re working to keep those dreams alive,” said Lisa Sherman, president and chief executive of the Ad Council.
“With the ‘She Can STEM’ campaign we can show girls, non-binary youth and trans youth that their passion in STEM can become a reality. We are so grateful for this extraordinary collaboration.”