Olay is battling the STEM gender gap, starting with $1 million towards education


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Growing up, I used to always see my mom apply her favorite Olay products as part of her skincare routine. Over 20 years later, the brand is not only prioritizing how its products make people feel, but also how it can create opportunities for women to thrive in male-dominated fields.

If you didn’t know, women only make up 24 percent of professionals in the STEM field, although women are behind some of the most important innovations of our time.

Announced on Women’s Equality Day, Aug. 26, Olay announced three goals it plans to take to face the STEM gap that disenfranchises women and marginalized communities.

Credit: Olay / ITK

Over the next ten years, the brand plans to achieve gender parity among those entering STEM study programs, double the number of women in STEM careers and increase diversity and inclusion by tripling the number of multicultural women in STEM careers.

You may be asking how a beauty brand plans to make such a change.

For immediate impact, Olay announced a $1 million financial commitment to supporting women pursuing STEM careers. Starting with a $520,000 donation to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the brand will provide support to women of color who today make up only 1 in 20 STEM jobs.

Additionally, Olay also launched the #FaceTheSTEMGap campaign which includes multiple women currently in the STEM field. In the campaign, we can spot fearless trailblazers like Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code; Erica Joy Baker, Software Engineer; Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski, Theoretical Physicist; Alyssa Carson, the youngest Astronaut-in-Training; Markaisa Black, a P&G Chemist; Alyssa George, a P&G Engineer; and Tori Moore, a P&G Chemist.

Credit: Olay
Credit: Olay

“STEM is a male-dominated industry, and it is time for women to believe in themselves, stand up, and know that they can do anything,” Carson told In The Know. “Olay is a brand that recognizes the power of women in STEM. Because when you see women pursuing their STEM dreams, you believe that you can do it too. I hope this campaign will inspire more women and girls to find their dream, never give up, and never let anyone take their dream away from them.​”

The campaign, created in partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi New York, not only shares facts about the STEM gender gap but also showcases the women delivering a decipherable “code” with ideas, equations and scientific languages. The message is simple yet profound: Women are scientists, and you can be one too.

“I am on a mission to inspire women to be brave, not perfect. The desire to be perfect holds us back in so many ways,” Saujani added. “We don’t speak up for ourselves, as we know deep down we should, because we don’t want to be seen as pushy or just straight-up unlikeable. This is why it’s important to have role models whose journeys and struggles inspire us and empower us to speak up for ourselves.”​ ​

Credit: Olay / ITK

“I grew up watching TV where Black women were depicted as doctors, lawyers, athletes, or addicts, with little in between. Rarely, if ever, did I see a Black woman technologist. Even today, images of Black women in computing are few and far between,” said Baker, in a statement.

She continued, “That’s why I’m proud and grateful to be a part of Olay’s commitment to closing the STEM gap. I want young Black girls to see as many faces of Black women in STEM as possible, as often as possible. Olay’s campaign will show young girls that they can not only be the change they want to see in the world, but that they can be the creators of that change.”

The #FaceTheSTEMGap campaign will also appear in print in Harper’s Bazaar, Allure and The New York Times. One thing is for sure – I have no doubt in my mind that the future is female.

If you liked this post, you should also check out some of our favorite beauty buys from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

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Originally published