Play Like a Girl continues its nearly 20-year legacy by leveraging the skills gained from sport to propel young women into competitive, male-dominated careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In 2004, Dr. Kimberly Clay established the organization in Birmingham, Alabama. Today, Play Like a Girl is committed to shining a light on inspiring women role models in an effort to inspire girls everywhere.

Three recent events underscore this commitment to such initiatives and the importance of exposing girls to women from diverse backgrounds and fields who are breaking boundaries in an effort to inspire the next generation of women leaders.

One-of-a-kind Career Experiences

Turner Construction and Play Like a Girl partnered for the organization’s hugely popular Inside Look program to commemorate Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day last month. Highlights included student interactions with women engineers, bilingual occupational safety professionals and Latina CEO of C&F Company among others, a tour of an active construction site, and a hands-on construction activity during which middle school students explored construction with model assembly components used to erect a structure inspired by those Turner engineers construct all across the country.

This engineering-focused Inside Look at Turner Construction exposed girls to engineering careers and gave them a glimpse of what a day in the life of an engineer is really like. Turner Construction’s project at Ascension Saint Thomas Midtown served as the perfect backdrop for this learning event. Since 2018, more than 300 middle school students have toured 27 corporate offices, plant facilities, working labs and sports stadiums and conducted hands-on experiments to learn more about STEM concepts and careers across all industries and sectors. Some of the most memorable experiences were hosted by Bridgestone Americas, Tesla, Tristar Medical Center, Walmart Labs, and the San Francisco 49ers; see program highlights on YouTube.

Recently, Lipscomb University hosted an Inside Look learning session that explored a wide range of pharmaceutical careers. Student pharmacists and faculty gathered a group of Play Like a Girl participants in the College of Pharmacy Compounding Lab, giving the girls an exclusive up-close opportunity to see how medications are compounded and put their skills to work making hand sanitizer. During the tour, students learned about the many safety mechanisms in place throughout the lab and interacted with the instrumentation and models while learning basic skills like taking a patient’s blood pressure or giving her a shot.

During a recent trip to the Boston area for a New England Patriots game spotlighting Play Like a Girl, Workhuman treated a few of our girls to an intimate behind-the-scenes tour of its North America headquarters. The multinational tech company co-headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts and Dublin helps companies meet today’s biggest human capital challenges – including unprecedented turnover, employee engagement, hybrid work environments, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) – through the Workhuman Cloud®, a secure SaaS platform that provides the industry’s best-in-class Social Recognition® solution designed for employees to recognize and reward each other. 

Real Life Role Models Matter

Starting and persisting in a STEM field can be an intimidating experience for young women. Only 8% of STEM employees were women back in 1970, compared to 28% in 2022, according to research from the U.S. Census Bureau. One way to help motivate young women to pursue a career in STEM and help them develop their skills to be successful is mentorship. Inside Look has a huge impact beyond career exposure; the program provides students with visible role models from diverse backgrounds to help students gain confidence and, ultimately, perform better in school. 

More importantly, girls who establish healthy mentoring relationships and social networks early in life are more likely to pursue challenging opportunities like a STEM career as adults. Role models and mentors from your company can inspire young women and teach them the resilience needed to create a more diverse, high-performing STEM industry.

Give Girls An Inside Look at Your Company

The Inside Look program is a great way to advance your company’s DE&I agenda while providing a meaningful engagement opportunity for employees. It is also an exciting opportunity to raise visibility for your company’s social impact work aimed at leveling the playing field for women in some of the fastest-growing, highest-paid jobs—STEM or not. 

Inside Look provides female middle school students from underrepresented groups the opportunity to learn about exciting, cutting-edge jobs at leading companies, the steps they can take toward a career in any given industry or sector, and what opportunities they have for future employment at the partner company. Students get out of the classroom and have fun with activities that reinforce what they have learned in school.

Inside Look also fosters team building and community engagement among corporate employees. Through this program, your company can come together to advance the mission of a charitable cause that everyone can proudly support. In addition, it is a great way to build corporate spirit and to establish closer relationships among employees, customers, and partners. Your Inside Look program also provides employees with opportunities to take on a leadership role while engaging in impactful community service.

Partner companies host up to 35 students and adult chaperones, plan and lead all educational activities, and provide attendees with a healthy meal and promotional swag to mark the experience. Each Inside Look program is three hours in length, and typically takes place on Thursday and Friday when students are out of school for a seasonal break or Saturday during the school year from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. to accommodate highly motivated but often busy students who are juggling multiple sports, extracurricular activities or other obligations that may prevent their participation.

Interested in hosting an Inside Look at your company or start up? Email partner [at] iplaylikeagirl [dot] org to host an Inside Look experience at your office, lab, plant or other facility.