While Women’s Equality Day was originally rooted in celebrating the women who facilitated passage of the 19th Amendment, which ended voting prohibitions based on gender, its importance has since taken on several meanings. Today, as we observe the day, beauty brands are stepping up to honor and uplift all women, including Black women and women of color.
For Olay that means committing $1 million to support women pursuing careers in STEM – and that begins with a $520,000 donation to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
While women have been part of some of history’s most important scientific and technological breakthroughs, they still only make up only 24 percent of jobs in STEM today. According to Olay, women of color only make up 1 in 20 of those jobs. With a new 10-year rollout, Olay and parent company Procter & Gamble (P&G) are hoping to close the STEM gap and increase diversity and inclusion in the field.
To kick off the initiative, Olay is debuting an ad campaign featuring real women in STEM, including P&G cosmetic chemists Tori Moore and Markaisa Black, PhD, Reshma Patel, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, and Erica Joy Baker, director of software engineering at GitHub.
“As a scientist and a Black woman, I can’t express how special it was to star in Olay’s ad campaign announcing the brand’s commitment to inspiring not only more women to enter STEM fields, but also more women of color,” said Markaisa Black, PhD. “I’m proud to serve as an example of STEM success for future generations of Black women.”
If you can see it, you can dream it, and the new campaign will serve as a visual reminder to young Black girls that the possibilities are there. By replacing models with role models, Olay is hoping to appeal to the girls who otherwise hadn’t considered all the career opportunities that a STEM focus can bring.
Back in March, Olay Body launched its #SkinInTheGame Women in STEM education program to raise awareness about career paths for women in the field. The brand partnered with a local Cincinnati high school for a day-long conference that gave 10 girls an exclusive look at what research and development looks like at a Fortune 500 company. The day ended with each girl receiving a $10, 000 scholarship towards her college education in STEM or a STEM-related field.
“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,” said Erica Joy Baker. “Event today, images of Black women in computing are few and far between. 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.”