When You Tell A Young Girl She's Pretty, You May Be Doing Unthinkable Damage (Video)

There are significantly fewer women in science than there are men.

Various theories have risen as to why this is still the case, such as stereotyping and the existence of a confidence gap between men and women, but this Verizon ad has brought forth a new explanation.

According to the National Science Foundation, 66 percent of fourth grade girls say they enjoy math and science, but only 18 percent of college engineering majors are female.

The ad highlights subtle social cues that exist throughout a little girl's life that can steer her away from her desires to engage in math and science.

In the ad, narrated by Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani and created in collaboration between Verizon and Makers, viewers follow one girl as she ages from a toddler to a teenager.

Throughout her life, she finds herself engaging in scientific discoveries, meandering through nature, examining animals and plants, completing an astronomy project and building a rocket with her brother.

However, while she's clearly on her way to becoming a scientist, her parents prod her with lots of comments that are far too commonly heard among females, such as "Who's my pretty girl?," "Don't get your dress dirty," "You don't want to mess with that, let's put them down," "This project has gotten out of control" and "Be careful with that, why don't you hand that to your brother?"

These understated but powerful comments can dissuade girls from doing what they love by slowly chipping away at their confidence about becoming a member of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) community.

Verizon urges parents to tell their science-loving girls that, in addition to being "pretty," they are "pretty brilliant, too."

More women should feel confident pursuing those tough PhDs in Engineering (shout out to my beautiful and intelligent best friend, Krissy, for doing just that!).

This ad proves that, with a little encouragement from parents and a little shift in perspective, women can reach their full science potential.

via Huffington Post