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Fueling STEM with Women Leaders

Leading with a belief that women can be catalysts for creating healthier people, healthier communities, and a healthier world, Johnson & Johnson is engaging with females at different pivotal points along the talent pipeline to help grow, nurture, and propel groundbreaking women leaders in STEM fields.

Preparing Students for Success

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To succeed in this new information-based and highly technical society, all students need to develop these cross-cutting STEM skills and capabilities at levels beyond what was considered acceptable in the past. These are the capabilities and skills that prepare students to become future innovators, educators, researchers, and community leaders.

Only 4.7%

of girls anticipate a STEM career

The Challenge

The stats are consistent within the U.S. and abroad. Along the length of the talent pipeline, women are underrepresented in STEM fields, defined by Johnson & Johnson as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, manufacturing, and design. Only 4.7% of young girls, compared to 18% of young boys, expect to have a career in engineering or computing, and by the first grade, most children show an unconscious bias by associating boys with math.

As the global demand for STEM talent continues to grow, only 42.4% of higher education graduates with a degree in science, math, or computing are women, even though 70% of college students are women or minorities. Experts indicate that almost all of the 30 fastest-growing occupations in the next decade will require at least some background in STEM.

The Solution

With a dedication to workplace diversity and inclusion, and supporting the community that helped found Johnson & Johnson more than a century ago, Johnson & Johnson has developed an approach to expanding and diversifying the STEM talent pipeline by engaging females at critical talent development points along their education journey. The goal? Enable women’s representation in STEM to reflect global demographics.

This straightforward idea relies on an army of volunteers who use the information, tips, resources, and other materials provided through the WiSTEM2D—Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing, and Design—program to provide age-appropriate STEM experiences, mentoring, and career exposure for women and girls ages 5-18, and then partner with academic institutions to continue the support of this pipeline development through a scholarship program honoring women pursuing groundbreaking STEM research.

Did you know?

Between 2014 and 2024, the number of STEM jobs will grow 17 percent, compared with 12 percent for non-STEM jobs. This represents an increase of about 1 million new jobs. And although women in the United States made up 57.2 percent of all professional workers in 2015, they comprised only 46.6 percent of science professionals, 24.7 percent of computer and math professionals, and 15.1 percent of engineering and architecture professionals. The scarcity of women in STEM fields is a long-standing and persistent problem that isn’t changing.

For many girls who start out strong in mathematics and science, interest wanes along the way. Clear evidence supports that girls and young women receive social cues—regularly reinforced in conscious and subconscious ways by parents, teachers, university professors, and even managers on the job—that they cannot compete with male counterparts and, therefore, should not pursue their goals in STEM fields.

Identity, Awareness, and Engagement

It all begins with a spark. Johnson & Johnson approaches their solution to the “leaky pipeline” of women in STEM by first understanding how and under what circumstances STEM identity develops.

Johnson & Johnson defines a STEM identity as “a person’s beliefs, attitudes, emotions, and dispositions about STEM and her resulting motivation and approach to learning and using knowledge.”

Once a positive STEM identity has been nurtured to increase girls’ interest, engagement, and performance in STEM, the WiSTEM2D program works to improve awareness of career opportunities in STEM-related fields.

A strong network of volunteers, dedicated to engaging women and girls in a student-centered, integrated approach to hands-on learning, mentoring, and opportunities to practice teamwork is critical to ensuring the program’s success.

Volunteer to Spark Enchantment

Partnering with leading nonprofit organizations, Johnson & Johnson is working to meet girls where they are across the country. With the help of critical partners FHI 360, Junior Achievement Worldwide, and Smithsonian Science Education Center, they provide access, exposure, and resources to science, innovation, and technology for female students through creative problem-solving and play delivered by an army of Johnson & Johnson volunteers.

To support this effort, Johnson & Johnson created a toolkit, which encourages STEM professionals to help young girls more easily make the connection between what they are learning in the classroom and their future participation in our economy driven by STEM innovation.

But on top of that, this process encourages Johnson & Johnson volunteers to consider the important role they play in their own STEM career, to inspire them in their own continuing journey, because they too are a part of the pipeline that Johnson & Johnson is working to grow.

Recruit, Retain, and Engage Women Leaders

Once girls are inspired to continue on their STEM talent pipeline journey, Johnson & Johnson re-engages to encourage the innovations of the future by awarding and sponsoring those women who have completed an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering, manufacturing, math, or design and have since dedicated their time to groundbreaking STEM2D research in academia.

By supporting women STEM professionals through this award program, Johnson & Johnson is championing the women who are identifying opportunities for corporate innovation in the future, and at the same time creating a brighter future for the women and girls who are watching, and following close behind.

Not only does this type of engagement strengthen the talent pipeline that Johnson & Johnson will need to rely upon in the future, but it helps foster a community of confidence among women in all STEM professions.

Bridge to Employment

Launched in 1992, Bridge to Employment (BTE), in partnership with FHI360, is a Johnson & Johnson initiative that prepares youth for brighter futures by inspiring young people (14-18 years) from disadvantaged communities to stay in school, excel academically, and elevate their career aspirations.

The program’s goal is to increase the number of students who enroll in higher education and the number of students who pursue a career in STEM or the health sector.

Each program has common elements, partners, and strategies, but each is tailored to the particular needs of the community. All local BTE programs include four key partners: a business, a secondary school, a higher education institution, and a community-based organization. Once partners are engaged, 35-50 students in their last three years of secondary school are selected for the program.

471 U.S. students

were supported by Bridge to Employment in 2017

In that same initiative, 180 Johnson & Johnson volunteers clocked

over 5,045 hours

83% of graduates

are now working in a STEM career

Is this a repeatable model?

Yes. Johnson & Johnson has strategically partnered with the education community and nonprofit partners who share their vision for an increasingly diverse STEM talent pipeline, where women are inspired, confident, and motivated on their journey. Though Johnson & Johnson has intelligently used their scale and broad reach to mobilize their programming internationally, the tools they have employed are basic at the core: mentoring, volunteerism, age-appropriate educational content, and plenty of research and leg work.

These tools are agnostic, and can be employed by any company that is looking to make a difference and build a stronger talent pipeline for tomorrow’s workforce in any discipline.

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