Abbott, Novartis tap into #ILookLikeAnEngineer social media movement

Isis Wenger

Stereotyping in male-dominated professions like engineering is nothing new. But one young female engineer in San Francisco had enough, after she appeared in an ad for her company--and then faced a backlash on social media. She didn't look like an engineer, the critics said.

Isis Wenger's blog post on Medium last week invited engineers who did not fit the "cookie-cutter mold" to join the cause. Thousands of women, including pharma engineers, responded on social media with photos and descriptions of what they do at work and outside of it.

Abbott Laboratories ($ABT), GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Bayer and Novartis ($NVS) were some of the pharmas whose employees jumped in, posting individually or on company newsfeeds, including Twitter ($TWTR), Facebook ($FB) and LinkedIn.

"We knew that the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign was striking a chord when our female engineers asked if we could help them share their stories," Abbott spokesman John Koval told FiercePharmaMarketing. "Through their voices, our message was simple: female engineers, and engineers of color, can work in fields that advance science and technology while reaching their full professional potential.

"For Abbott, this was also a natural story to tell. We have invested more than $25 million in programs and exhibits around the world to introduce young people to the wonders of science and engineering."

Abbott featured several of its employees on its Twitter news feed, beginning with top engineer Corliss Murray, who also leads a high school STEM internship program. Koval said the senior VP is "an African-American woman from the South who has shattered just about every gender and cultural stereotype about becoming an engineer."

NovartisScience engineer tweets included Tripti Kulkarni, who wrote "I help accelerate drug discovery. @NovartisScience #ILookLikeAnEngineer." Novartis retweeted and responded to her and other employees' posts by saying, "We're proud of our associates who are supporting diversity and inclusion in research via #ILookLikeAnEngineer."

- read Wenger's blog post

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