Did you know that, although women fill 47% of all U.S. jobs, they hold only 27% of STEM jobs? Those are some fairly depressing numbers, but luckily companies like General Electric are taking steps to drastically change that statistic. They’re currently engaged in a big push for more women in STEM jobs and one of the steps they’ve taken is a marketing campaign starring a girl named Molly.
Molly begins the commercial seemingly like any other kid- annoyed that she has to take out the trash in the middle of a stormy night. Suddenly, she spots the clotheslines hanging right outside of her house and has a light bulb go off in her head. She works with a bicycle, some rope, and a drill to create a mechanism that allows her to send the trash to its bin without having to leave her room.
Some kids may have stopped there, but Molly is not just any kid. She begins to invent machines to help every aspect of her daily life- from an attachment for the lawn mower to a toy car that dusts the house to her bed making itself at the push of a button. She even invents a vending machine for girl scout cookies and uses her original pulley system to deliver them down to street level.
All of this hard work peaks at the finale of the ad. We see that Molly now works for GE as an engineer. At the very end of the commercial, we see Molly use her innovative mind once more, now as an adult, to make a robotic inspection process run much more efficiently.
According to The Drum, this Ad was created by BBDO and its the latest in the company’s attempts to position itself as a digital industry company for innovative minds. In recent years, GE has focused its efforts on recruitment advertising in an attempt to draw new talent away from startup tech companies. And their efforts are by no means fruitless. According to their reports, a commercial that they aired in 2015 titled, “What’s the matter with Owen?” resulted in an 800% increase in employee applications.
This ad is also a result of a push that GE is making on bridging the gender gap in employment- especially in the STEM fields. In February of 2017, GE boldly announced their goal of having 20,000 women fill STEM roles (requiring science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) by the year 2020. According to The Inspiration Room, this would mean that they’d attain a 50:50 representation ratio between genders for all of their technical entry-level positions.
Shortly after announcing this goal, GE premiered an ad starring Millie Dresselhaus- the first woman to win the National Medal of Science and Engineering. This ad posed an interesting question- what if we lived in a society where female scientists were treated as celebrities? The commercial features the successful female scientist being made into a doll, becoming a Halloween costume for young girls, and even becoming an emoji. The ad ends with the hashtag #BalanceTheEquation and the official announcement of GE’s bold goals to get women into STEM jobs.
But GE isn’t the only company making this push to get more women into STEM fields. Back in 2016, Microsoft released a similar commercial in celebration of International Women’s Day. In this ad, an interviewer asks young girls to name scientists. The young female participants list off an array of male scientists. Later they’re asked to name female scientists and they each struggle to do so. This not only points out the bias that we have but also names several female scientists who have done amazing work. This ad by Microsoft is yet another step toward normalizing the idea of women in the fields of science and technology.
To the companies engaging in this push and attempting to bridge the gender gap in STEM, we echo Molly’s sincere last words at the end of her ad- thank you