As there has been a concerted effort to attract and retain women in STEM fields, a new survey from the Exelon Foundation has some disappointing results. It showed that only 50% of the next generation of women remain optimistic about the future of women in science, technology, engineering and math.
In fact, nearly six times as many high school girls believe companies view men as more qualified for STEM jobs than women.
Exelon, a Fortune 100 energy company with the largest number of utility customers in the U.S, along with the UN Women HeForShe initiative, is launching its inaugural STEM Innovation Leadership Academy for teen girls in Chicago, followed by the launch of a second academy in Washington, D.C.
With only 15% of high school girls in the U.S. expressing interest in STEM majors or careers – compared with 40% of high school boys – the week-long immersive STEM Innovation Leadership Academy is designed to provide hands-on learning and mentorship opportunities.
The Chicago STEM Innovation Leadership Academy, which will take place July 15-21 at the Illinois Institute of Technology, will bring together nearly 50 young women ages 16 to 19 for engaging interactive experiences, field trips and conversations with leaders in STEM fields, including one-on-one mentorship opportunities.
“By creating opportunities for young women to learn about and pursue STEM-related careers, we are nurturing the next generation of leaders,” said Exelon CEO Chris Crane. “Initiatives such as the STEM Innovation Leadership Academy empower female students through education and mentorship, enhance our workforce through diversity and equality and ultimately foster fundamental change and a brighter future for all.”
The STEM Innovation Leadership Academy is just one component of Exelon’s three-year commitment to the HeForShe initiative, to which the company’s charitable foundation has made a $3 million commitment. Launched by UN Women in 2014, HeForShe was created to foster a movement with a systematic approach and targeted platform where men can become agents of change for gender equality