Most of us likely believe that to call a young girl “pretty” is paying her the highest of compliments. But this powerful advertisement makes an entirely different case. The ad takes one simple statistic and turns your preconceived notions about how to talk to young girls on their collective head.
You’ll see the statistic we’re talking about when you get to the end of this short video. But we’ll give you a hint with some other statistics here.
Perhaps the most important stat is this: women make up about half of the American work force, but only about one-quarter if workers in the STEM fields. That’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
What accounts for that discrepancy? It’s certainly not the financial incentive. Women in STEM earn on average 33 percent more money than women in other fields. But the participation of women in STEM fields is actually declining, even as technology advances and becomes an increasingly powerful influence in American daily lives.
In 1984, 37 percent of all computer science college graduates were women. In 2010, only 18 percent were women, and 27 percent in 2002.
But progress is being made. For example, NASA and the Girl Scouts of America recently signed a memorandum agreeing to take measures encouraging girls to pursue careers in the sciences. But at the Clinton Global Initiative in Denver this week, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a story to illustrate how things have changed.
“When I was in junior high school, I was totally entranced by the NASA program,” Clinton said. “I wanted to go into space and wrote off a letter and NASA wrote back and said ‘sorry, we don’t take women.’ ”
Watch this ad, which already has more than a million views, and is more of a public service announcement for women in science than a plug for Verizon, who made this video.