MUMBAI, INDIA — Why are young girls presented with kitchen sets on their birthdays while boys are given toy robots or construction sets? Are unconscious gender biases holding girls back? According to United Nations, in India women make up only 14% of the workforce in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Leading skincare brand Olay believes it’s time to change the equation.
A brand of science, but proudly also a brand of women, Olay India is committing to help close the gender gap in STEM. With the launch of its meaningful initiative #STEMTheGap, the brand has unveiled a hard-hitting film highlighting how our unconscious biases teach girls that STEM is not for them and invites us to collectively address this to #STEMTheGap.
Beyond this, the brand is taking action and has announced that it is funding STEM scholarships for girls across India in partnership with LEAD, India’s foremost School EdTech player powering 3000+ schools to deliver international standard education to 1.2 million+ students.
Rooted in cultural barriers and stereotypical gender roles, women are often stereotyped as caregivers or homemakers and restricted in their fields of study to teaching, nursing, fine arts, and home economics amongst the like. While there has been an increase in the number of STEM jobs in India, in order to participate effectively in future jobs, Indian girls should be encouraged to pursue STEM education. Putting the spotlight on the STEM gap in India, Olay has launched a purpose-driven brand initiative thereby enabling more girls to fearlessly pursue STEM careers.
Created in partnership with Publicis PG ONE Singapore, Olay’s film highlights how young girls are talked down upon when it comes to pursuing STEM interests and careers instead of the conventional roles framed by age-old societal norms. Showcasing different scenarios across the country where girls who are interested in taking up STEM careers are on the receiving end of bias, the film narrates examples of a girl who is told to not do a task only because her clothes might get dirty, a teacher assuming that a science project was done by a male peer, a young girl encouraged to dress up as a princess rather than her preference of a robot, or a girl who is complimented as becoming a ‘star’ celebrity rather than an astronaut for a future profession. Olay, therefore, steps in with an aim to #STEMTheGap and ends the film with the announcement of funding STEM scholarships for girls across India through their partnership with LEAD.
Speaking on the #STEMTheGap initiative, Priyali Kamath, Senior Vice President, Skin & Personal Care – Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Procter & Gamble (P&G) said, “Olay is a brand deeply rooted in science, and with 50% of our scientists being women, we know that girls have the potential to become amazing scientists. With more and more jobs becoming STEM-based, we believe it’s our collective responsibility to prepare girls for the jobs of the future. That is why we are committed to helping close the gender gap in STEM. We are delighted to have created such a heart-warming yet thought-provoking film that stitches together different everyday scenarios to highlight the underlying gender bias that prevails in our society. Beyond this, our scholarship program with LEAD is already making a real and meaningful difference today, and we are excited to be part of driving a positive future for girls in India. Together, let’s #STEMTheGap.”
Publicis PGONE Singapore spokesperson, Ajay Vikram, Chief Creative Officer – Global Clients, Publicis Singapore said, “When you think of a critical but challenging goal like achieving gender parity in STEM, it’s easy to think ‘but what does it have to do with me?’ The fact is, the current gap between boys and girls lies not in their abilities, but in our minds. We can all play a part in narrowing this gap by being more aware and conscious of our everyday biases and societal blind spots, and in encouraging others to do the same. Systemic change begins with you and me.”
Olay believes the future of our girls depends on what we teach them now, yet there is still a long way to go for equal access to education. That’s why the brand is taking action to support girls’ STEM education in India, launching its STEM scholarship program for girls in partnership with LEAD. Since 2021, Olay has been sponsoring tuition fees, as well as tablets and data packs for girls across 6 states in India.
The 360-degree campaign has been launched on connected TV and digital platforms and will further be amplified through various other media.