Have you ever wondered if we gave female scientists and engineers the same prominence we give to celebrities? Someone imagined … and created an incredible ad.
What if we also exalt women from the areas of technology and science? In the multinational General Electric (GE) they also wondered that. And the questioning resulted in an incredible commercial.
The video, which was published in March, envisions a reality in which Mildred Dresselhaus is a celebrity. Millie, as she was called, was a researcher at MIT and the first woman to win the National Medal of Science. She is the “Carbon Queen” for her groundbreaking research on the properties of carbon and also famous for her efforts to advance the cause of women in science.
In the commercial Millie is harassed by the fans in the streets, the children follow her style and she is magazine cover, just like a current celebrity.
The video is part of the campaign for gender equality in the company, which proposes to have more than 20 thousand women in the STEM areas (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Today there are 15,000 women in these roles. This is part of the “50:50” agreement, which encourages equal numbers of men and women in corporate leadership positions by the year 2020.
Most interestingly, the ad shows how celebrating female scientists could inspire girls to become scientists and thereby help GE find them and hire them to keep the promise on schedule. It is hoped that with these attitudes the equation can be rebalanced across the industry. Recalling that this is not only a problem of GE, but of all companies and efforts need to be collective.
In a country where the president himself has highlighted only the role of women at home and in the domestic economy by identifying price differences in the supermarket (it is, unfortunately the case in Brazil, where I come from), it is a relief to know that this reality is changing.
Mildred Dresselhaus died shortly after launching the commercial, at age 86, but left, no doubt a legacy to women and the world. Thank you Millie!