The latest trend of empowerment marketing has inundated us with positive messages for women. But some brands aren't letting their message end with a campaign spot. Armed with statistics that girls are likely to be less interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) after the early years of their education (and that only 24 percent of STEM employees are women) some brands have decided to try and do something about that.
The largest electric utility company in Chicago and the greater Illinois area just launched an event called The Ice Box Derby. The six-week competition created by Leo Burnett in Chicago has young women (ages 13 to 18) using recycled refrigerators to create electric cars. The company partnered with Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, Girls4Science and the Chicago Urban League to create six teams that will vie for the top slot. The winner will be announced on Aug. 23.
Remember Verizon's recent "Inspire Her Mind" spot by AKQA? The tearjerker was in line with the company's education initiatives to get children interested in STEM fields. This campaign, which is part of a partnership with Makers, focuses on the language we use when speaking to young girls and how that can impact their later interest in STEM. Case in point: only 14 percent of teenage girls want to become a scientist. As part of Verizon's effort to combat gender norms, AKQA created a site featuring testimonials from women who work in STEM fields that could be a great resource for young girls.
The company whose surname has become synonymous with search has a little side project called Made With Code. The effort is to help girls of the future get involved in coding—a skill that they believe will open doors. Recently the company coughed up $1 million to support Donor Choose, a nonprofit that rewards teachers with money when they get four or more female students into a coding class.
GoldieBlox may have gotten itself into hot water over revamping one of the most anti-feminist songs on the 1980s, but the toy company is holding steady on its mission to create the next generation of female engineers. The viral campaign shows that the young girls' STEM skills have created a domino effect that eventually silences their gender norm-spouting television.