Olay launches next installment of #STEMTheGap initiative

Olay launches next installment of #STEMTheGap initiative

WhatsApp Image 2023-10-09 at 2.35.21 PM

Delhi | Procter & Gamble’s skincare brand, Olay has unveiled a new digital film in collaboration with filmmaker Anand Gandhi. The film delves into India’s history of remarkable women in STEM and pays homage to the enduring legacies of luminaries like Dr. Anandibai Joshi, Kamala Sohonie, Dr. Janaki Ammal, Kalpana Chawla, among others.

The film highlights the urgent need for more female role models in STEM today. The film also sheds light on the societal biases that deter young girls from pursuing STEM careers, emphasizing the crucial role of female mentors.

As per the brand, India boasts the world’s highest number of female STEM graduates at a commendable 43%. However, the reality is that only an estimated 14% of them are part of the STEM workforce. These numbers underscore a significant drop out after education & work place gender gap that needs addressing.

Deep-rooted gender stereotypes link STEM fields to men, steering women toward traditional household tasks. Early exposure to these stereotypes dissuades young girls from exploring STEM, resulting in a scarcity of female representation. The absence of prominent female role models and mentors compounds the issue, dissuading even those who initially venture into STEM careers. The dearth of female role models often leads women to drop out, perpetuating the gender gap in STEM.

Procter & Gamble’s skincare brand, a brainchild of chemist Graham Wulff, has tried to have a deep understanding of women’s changing needs through science since its inception. With a 50/50 female-to-male management split in the region, it also helps eliminate gender bias inside and outside of the workplace. Led by a female R&D leader – Chandrika Kasturi, Olay’s R&D team is 250+ strong and comprises of more than 50% female scientists.

In March 2023, Olay India commissioned a survey and the findings attested to the fact that due to a lack of female role models, young girls are found to not pursue a career in STEM. 81% of the respondents dropped out due to the lack of female role models who can pave the way for success. Whereas 88% said having female role models who are excelling in the workplace would influence them to go back to a career in STEM.

Overall, 91% of respondents said having a female role model is crucial to staying in a STEM career.
In 2021, Olay launched #STEMtheGap in India, aiming to address the STEM gender gap. The campaign garnered 10 million views and an 80 million reach, a record for Olay India. Beyond awareness, Olay invested Rs 30,03,026 in scholarships and learning tools for 250+ underprivileged girls in partnership with LEAD School.

This year, the new instalment of Olay’s #STEMTheGap initiative aims to shed light on the glaring absence of female mentors and role models. Ahead of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, Olay will begin the next leg of its 10-year program. Olay India is taking meaningful steps to provide young girls with mentorship and role models through the following initiatives:

The AI-SHU Virtual Mentor: The brand has also launched the beta version of a web-based virtual chat mentor that will offer guidance and information to aspiring young girls seeking to enter the world of STEM—and a supplement to Olay’s mentorship program. This virtual chat mentor has been created with the help of successful women in different STEM fields in India such as Shannon Olsson (Founder & Global Director of the echo network), Swarna Manjari (Communication Designer), Dr. Vandana Prasad (Community Pediatrician and Public Health Professional), Tarunima Prabhakar (Tech and Policy Research at Tattle Civic Tech and Carnegie India), to name a few, to provide the user with knowledge, resources, and encouragement on their journeys.

Mentorship with vLookUp: In collaboration with vLookUp, Olay has joined forces to offer a platform connecting female students in higher education with STEM mentors online. This program completes the mentorship journey from virtual mentorship to meaningful connections with experts in the field.

STEM Scholarships: To encourage future women in STEM, Olay continues to partner with LEAD, India’s School EdTech provider, to sponsor STEM scholarships to 250+ underprivileged girls. These scholarships empower girls across India by providing financial support for STEM education and career development.

Priyali Kamath, Senior Vice President, Skin & Personal Care – Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, P&G, said, “For decades, Procter & Gamble’s legacy skincare brand Olay has maintained a deep understanding of women’s changing needs through science. At Olay, we understand the critical importance of female role models in the STEM field, and our commitment to bridging the gender gap is unparalleled. This year’s theme, centered on the significance of role models and the introduction of mentorship initiative, highlights our commitment to ensuring every young girl knows that she can be the next leader in her field.

Through initiatives like #STEMTheGap and our commitment to gender equality, we are working hard to double the number of women in STEM by 2030 and create a more inclusive and equitable future. We’re proud to recognize and support the next generation of women in STEM who will one day be making history in their respective fields, and become role models for young girls in the future.”

Ajay Vikram, Chief Creative Officer of Publicis Groupe, Southeast Asia, said, “There are many accomplished women leaders in STEM in India today. Yet, a ‘lack of mentors’ is often cited as a big reason why so few women make a career in STEM. This got us thinking.

How do we not just celebrate the achievements of women in STEM, but actually be useful to be there at the very moment when needed, a friend and guide to any girl or woman looking for answers as they stand at the crossroads of choosing their path forward. Technology came in handy as a way to help, but we can’t wait to see how much more AI-SHU can do to help women find their way to a future of their choosing.”

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRCFkltGqU4