Featured Speakers: Jenny Leahy (Microsoft) and Rosemary Calderone (m: united//McCann)
Pop quiz: Name 3 female inventors. If you’re coming up blank, don’t worry – you’re not alone. But it’s not that there aren’t any female inventors – it’s actually quite the opposite – it’s just that we don’t know about them. And it was that very insight that inspired Microsoft’s 2016 campaign, #MakeWhatsNext. Jenny, Rosemary, and their teams at Microsoft and m:united//McCann had already identified a lack of role models as one of the key factors for why women turn away from STEM, so the goal of the campaign was to highlight prominent female inventors and present them to young girls as a source of inspiration and influence.
The #MakeWhatsNext campaign garnered 184 million media impressions, an unprecedented 83% increase in positive brand sentiment and actually tripled the number of web searches for “women inventors.” But the real victory according to Jenny? Being able to drive action through the creative work. #MakeWhatsNext held live events that reached over 4,000 girls around the globe, and also included the #MakeWhatsNext Patent Program, which offers pro bono legal support to help young, female inventors file for a patent. It was a fully integrated program hell-bent on changing the deeply rooted belief systems that prevent girls from exploring STEM education. And it’s just getting started.
“Not everything is ‘man-made.’”
“Sparking the conversation is one thing, driving it to action is another.”
“We broke Facebook with this video.”
“Young girls are not often exposed to how they can be creative with STEM, and all the doors that can open because of it.”
“Around middle school is where we see the drop-off.”
“The patent attorneys at Microsoft are my new favorite people.”
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