India holds the distinction of having the worlds highest number of female STEM graduates at 43%. Despite this achievement, a significant post-education drop-out rate leaves just 14% of these graduates entering the STEM workforce. Deep-seated stereotypes that associate STEM with men often steer women towards traditional roles. In a survey commissioned by Olay India in March 2023, it was revealed that a major factor dissuading young girls from pursuing STEM careers is the scarcity of female role models. Moreover, 81% of the respondents from the survey cited the absence of such role models as a key reason for discontinuing their STEM aspirations.
In response to the urgent need to address the gender gap in STEM and empower the next generation of women leaders, Olay India has crafted a mentorship program that transcends traditional mentoring. Olay has joined forces with vLookUp – a mentoring platform catalysing a global community to launch the Olay STEM Mentorship Programme. This pioneering initiative aims to establish an autonomous virtual mentoring platform, bridging the gap between aspiring women leaders and seasoned industry experts. Through this mentorship programme, young females will have the opportunity to join an exclusive network of leaders who can influence change and support the growth of women professionals in STEM. Hence, one gets to become an integral part of a movement dedicated to championing gender diversity and mentoring women in STEM to succeed.
Become part of a success story and join the #STEMTheGap Movement
The vLookUp mentorship program, part of Olays initiative, spans 30+ countries, with 170 mentors, 350 mentees, and 3000+ mentoring hours, fostering diversity in STEM. In order to become an Olay mentor, one can register, connect with mentees via AI matchmaking, and engage for 8 hours over a course of 4 months.
Now in its second innings, this collaboration saw over 300 sign-ups that have been recorded in the past year, with carefully chosen participants engaging in four-month mentorship programs facilitated by volunteers from P&G and partner companies. This program completes the mentorship journey from virtual mentorship to meaningful connections with experts in the field. Olay is, therefore, determined to change the equation by enabling women to have early access to role models and mentors in the STEM fields.
Speaking on the mentorship program, Priyali Kamath, Senior Vice President of P&G Skin and Personal Care in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa said, “As STEM fields increasingly shape our future, it becomes imperative to bolster female representation in shaping that very future. Olay is a brand deeply rooted in science and for over 70 years, its formulas have harnessed the expertise of STEM professionals, including many talented women scientists. Hence, we are deeply committed to breaking down the barriers that stand in the way of young women pursuing STEM careers and realizing their passions. Our collaboration with vLookUp is a testament to this commitment, as we firmly believe that connecting experienced industry leaders with aspiring women in STEM will pave the way for a more diverse, equitable, and innovative future in these critical fields. Through our overall #STEMTheGap initiative, we are dedicated to fostering gender equality, striving to double the number of women in STEM by 2030 and shape a brighter, more inclusive environment for the STEM workforce in India and around the world.”
Kanchana Gupta, Founder of vLookUp, added, “Female role models hold a crucial role in motivating young women and girls to embrace STEM education and careers. Through showcasing accomplished women in STEM, recounting their journeys and insights, and offering mentorship, these role models can shatter stereotypes and demonstrate that successful careers in STEM are within reach for young women and girls. Access to Mentors, Leaders and Role Models goes a long way in retaining and growing women in workforce as it inspires them and gives them hope and courage.”
Moreover, Olay has leveraged the capabilities of technology to extend its reach of mentoring for women in STEM with the launch of virtual mentor AI-SHU. This is the beta version of a web-based virtual chat mentor that will offer guidance and information to aspiring young girls seeking to enter the world of STEM-and an ideal supplement to Olay’s mentorship program. This virtual chat mentor has been created with the help of successful women in different STEM fields in India such as Shannon Olsson (Founder & Global Director of the echo network), Swarna Manjari (Communication Designer), Dr. Vandana Prasad (Community Pediatrician and Public Health Professional), Tarunima Prabhakar (Tech and Policy Research at Tattle Civic Tech and Carnegie India), to name a few, to provide the user with knowledge, resources, and encouragement on their journeys.
With the launch of the new instalment of #STEMTheGap initiative, Olay India aims to shed light on the glaring absence of female mentors and role models. In collaboration with acclaimed filmmaker Anand Gandhi, Olay also unveiled a powerful digital film that explores Indias remarkable women in STEM and pays homage to their enduring legacies. It highlights the urgent need for more female role models in STEM today and sheds light on the societal biases that deter young girls from pursuing STEM careers, emphasizing the crucial role of female mentors.
About Olay India
Olay is a worldwide leader in skin care that has been trusted by women for over 70 years. Olay maintains a deep understanding of women’s changing needs and offers products backed by superior science to meet them. Using ground-breaking ingredients and formulations, and proven performance testing, Olay has a range of products that work at the surface cellular level for younger-looking skin and treat the root causes of skin concerns. Female consumers have come to expect this superior product performance from Olay, as it brings healthy looking, beautiful skin to more than 80 million women on five continents.
As a brand rooted in science, Olay India advocates for gender equality in STEM. Olay is committed to help #STEMTheGap in India, inspiring young girls to pursue careers in STEM and funding STEM scholarships for girls across the country. For more information about Olay, visit www.olayskincare.com/en-in.
About Procter & Gamble (P&G)
P&G serves consumers in India with one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences, Vicks , Ariel, Tide, Whisper, Olay, Gillette, AmbiPur, Pampers, Oral-B, and Old Spice.
vLookUp is a digital career mentoring platform designed to empower women in the workforce and those aspiring to join it. Its mission is to create a support structure that spans the early stages of ones career and connects aspiring women leaders with mentors, role models, and domain experts. This is a mentee-driven platform which empowers women to choose from a pool of mentors as per their specific career needs. The vLookUp community has rapidly expanded since launching in July 2021, now featuring 200 mentors and 600+ mentees from 18 industries, 300+ organizations, and 14 countries. Additionally, the platform has also facilitated over 4000 hours of meaningful mentoring engagement to date.