New Coalition Unites to Create #GirlsLeadSTEM and Declares October as #GirlsLeadSTEM Month

#GirlsLeadSTEM will amplify youth voices to call for urgent, national commitment to equity for girls, particularly young women of color, in STEM learning, innovation and careers

WASHINGTON--()--Today, on International Women in Engineering Day, a new, multi-sector coalition composed of leading organizations dedicated to creating opportunities for young girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has founded #GirlsLeadSTEM and declared October 2022 as the inaugural #GirlsLeadSTEM month. The founding coalition is composed of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Intel Corporation, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, National Girls Collaborative Project, STEM Next Opportunity Fund and Techbridge Girls.

While women have made gains in STEM career fields, persistent gaps remain- particularly in engineering and a variety of science fields. Currently, women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce of 58.9 million workers, but represent only 30 percent of the professionals in science and engineering jobs. Black and Hispanic women each make up only two percent and Indigenous women only one percent.

#GirlsLeadSTEM represents a collective, multi-sector effort to address these persistent disparities. #GirlsLeadSTEM will tap our most valuable stakeholders - the girls themselves - who will illuminate what’s still needed to ensure persistence in their STEM journey. This national effort will elevate the voices of young women and girls in STEM to transform the overused narratives in the space and celebrate the girls who lead their own STEM journeys, in their own voices, with their own communities and on their own terms.

The founding #GirlsLeadSTEM coalition firmly believes girls can and should lead in STEM. This coalition seeks to rally cross-sector commitments from like-minded organizations dedicated to empowering girls to lead with their voices, to advocate for themselves and to help all girls see themselves as the future of STEM.

Leading up to October and throughout the month, #GirlsLeadSTEM will offer a unique voice in advancing gender and racial equity in STEM fields by acting as a vehicle to amplify youth voice:

  • #GirlsLeadSTEM will share the stories, advice and challenges faced by girls who represent diverse communities from across the nation;
  • #GirlsLeadSTEM will enable more girls to “see themselves” and inspire them to pursue STEM education and careers;
  • #GirlsLeadSTEM will engage girls to share, from their perspective, what’s needed to ensure persistence in STEM; and
  • #GirlsLeadSTEM will mobilize the corporate, entertainment, nonprofit and public sectors to support their needs by committing to impactful STEM initiatives focused on closing the gender gap in STEM.

“We are at a critical juncture in the movement for STEM equity for women and girls,” said Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media. “In creating #GirlsLeadSTEM, this coalition will utilize their dedication and expertise to make great strides in closing the STEM gender gap through their individual community efforts. Our goal is to collectively support and champion the next generation of STEM leaders who are representative of the diverse country we live in.”

“#GirlsLeadSTEM will empower women STEM innovators to tell their stories and inspire the next generation of problem-solvers and pioneers,” said Nicole Small, CEO, Lyda Hill Philanthropies and co-founder, IF/THEN® Initiative. “#GirlsLeadSTEM month directs our collective momentum to meet today's girls where they are – that includes classroom walls, textbooks, movies, television and on social media.​”

“We continue to ask our girls, especially, Black and brown who experience economic insecurity, to fit in a box that they were not created to thrive in,” said Nikole Collins-Puri, CEO, Techbridge Girls. “It is time to create new spaces outside of those boxes. This coalition is bold enough to amplify organizations that go beyond representation to acknowledge that this is a social justice mandate and truly believe in invigorating the spaces for our girls' and young women's brilliance to thrive and lead. We are excited about what this collective movement can do for our field but more importantly for girls across the country who will see themselves, their voices and their experiences amplified so we can go from moving the needle an inch to driving it forward for generations to come.”

“We are encouraging organizations, influencers and industry leaders to join our call to action and make closing the gender gap in STEM a collective national priority,” said Ron Ottinger, executive director of STEM Next Opportunity Fund, which is convening the national effort. “Together, by leveraging cross-sector partnerships, we can create equitable STEM learning opportunities for all girls everywhere and build a future where girls lead STEM.”

“We want #GirlsLeadSTEM month to catapult STEM equity, especially for girls of color, to the forefront of national discourse,” said Dr. Gabriela A. Gonzalez, Director of Global STEM Research, Policy, and Initiatives at Intel Corporation. “There is a sense of increased urgency across the board, from corporate leaders to nonprofit organizations, behind creating opportunities for girls in STEM and taking action to broaden access to resources.”

“This unique coalition is truly collaboration in action,” said Karen Peterson, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the National Girls Collaborative Project. “Bringing together our collective broad range of networks and centering our work on the lived experiences and needs of girls will make #GirlsLeadSTEM a reality. The National Girls Collaborative Project is activating more than 100,000 exceptional and passionate program educators, advocates and champions to renew and build upon their efforts to foster girls' interest and confidence in STEM, enabling us to collectively chip away at systemic barriers to girls participation in STEM.”

To learn more about #GirlsLeadSTEM month, visit Organizations and individuals can sign up to receive the #GirlsLeadSTEM newsletter and become a participating member. Leading up to and during the month of October, use the #GirlsLeadSTEM hashtag to elevate the stories and voices of girls in STEM.

About the #GirlsLeadSTEM Month Advisory Committee

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (GDI) - Founded in 2004 by Academy Award Winning Actor Geena Davis, the Institute is the only research-based organization working collaboratively within the entertainment industry to create gender balance, foster inclusion and reduce negative stereotyping in family entertainment media. In 2018, GDI, together with Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ IF/THEN initiative, released Portray Her: Representations of Women STEM Characters in Media, an extensive ten year, seminal content analysis of STEM characters in entertainment media and a nationally representative survey of girls and young women.
Twitter: @geenadavisorg

Intel Corporation - Intel’s purpose is to create world-changing technology that improves the life of every person on the planet. Its continuing commitment to corporate responsibility is embedded in its corporate purpose, which creates value for Intel and its stakeholders. Diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion have long been core to Intel’s values and are instrumental to driving innovation and delivering strong business growth.
Twitter: @intel

Lyda Hill Philanthropies // IF/THEN - Founded in 2019, IF/THEN®, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies, seeks to further advance women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers. Rooted in a firm belief that there is no better time to highlight positive and successful female professional role models, IF/THEN® is designed to activate a culture shift among young girls to open their eyes to STEM careers by: (1) funding and elevating women in STEM as role models, (2) convening cross-sector partners in entertainment, fashion, sports, business and academia to illuminate the importance of STEM everywhere, and (3) inspiring girls with better portrayals of women in STEM through media and learning experiences to pique their interest in STEM careers. Putting words to action, the initiative has launched an Emmy-nominated television series, Mission Unstoppable, created the IF/THEN® Collection, the world’s largest free resource library of photos and videos of diverse women in STEM, and launched the #IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit, a monumental installation of 120 life-sized 3D-printed statues of real women STEM professionals. IF/THEN® content has garnered hundreds of millions of views from women and girls furthering the approach that if you support women and girls in STEM, then you can change the world.
Instagram, TikTok and Twitter: @IfThenSheCan

STEM Next Opportunity Fund - STEM Next is playing a critical role in bringing in- and out-of-school STEM learning opportunities to millions of children and closing the gender gap in STEM careers. In September 2020, STEM Next launched The Million Girls Moonshot, which seeks to re-imagine who can engineer, who can build, who can make. It will inspire and prepare the next generation of innovators by engaging one million more girls in STEM learning opportunities through afterschool and summer programs over the next 5 years. It is joined by over 50 partners that have quickly turned Moonshot into a powerful movement for STEM equity.
Twitter: @STEMNext, @girlsmoonshot; Instagram: @girlsmoonshot

National Girls Collaborative Project - The vision of the National Girls Collaborative Project® (NGCP) is for STEM experiences to be as diverse as the world we live in. NGCP brings together organizations throughout the United States that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Our mission is to connect, create, and collaborate to transform STEM for all youth. NGCP has been a leader in the space for over 20 years, reaching 28 million girls and 14 million boys to date, via state-based Collaboratives, serving as a network of networks. It operates and manages The Connectory, developed so parents and other caregivers could find local STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education opportunities for the kids in their lives. This free tool was also created with program providers in mind, providing the means for discovering new partners as well as ways to showcase the STEAM opportunities that providers are offering for youth.
Twitter: @ngcproject

Techbridge Girls – Techbridge Girls (TBG) is an award-winning national nonprofit organization bringing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for Black, Indigenous (BIPOC), and all girls of color and gender-expansive youth who experience economic insecurity across the U.S. For 20+ years, TBG has reengineered the way STEM is taught, centering our girls’ brilliance and potential, with an emphasis on increasing STEM access, belonging, and persistence for BIPOC youth from marginalized communities. Techbridge Girls believes that without BIPOC girls’ experiences, values, interests, voices, and brilliance, we will never experience the full potential of STEM to change the world. Techbridge Girls provides a broad-based, equity-focused, gender–and culturally–responsive STEM curriculum. Our core programs include five out-of-school-time out-of-school-time programs, for 4th-12th grade-aged girls, and capacity-building for out-of-school-time educators. Techbridge Girls has set a bold goal to reach 1M girls by 2030.
Instagram and Twitter: @techbridgegirls


Morgan Livingston


Morgan Livingston