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New Survey Reveals Crucial Need to Empower Women to Lead Climate Change Action

Study released as the Exelon Foundation embarks on second-annual HeForShe STEM Innovation Leadership Academy aimed at fostering the next generation of climate leaders

CHICAGO — A new survey funded by the Exelon Foundation found that even though nearly four out of five high school girls believe action must be taken to address climate change, the majority don’t feel equipped to take on this critical issue themselves. And despite survey respondents’ confidence that women have the talents needed to address climate change issues, only 50 percent foresee females leading these efforts. 

Recognizing the need to empower girls to pursue career paths that address climate change issues, the Exelon Foundation and United Nations Women HeForShe are hosting their second annual STEM Innovation Leadership Academy. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Taking place in Baltimore (July 14-19), Philadelphia (July 21-26) and Chicago (August 4-9), the 2019 Academy events are tailored to the increasing number of young women who express an interest in STEM careers. In fact, 60 percent report that they are likely to pursue a career that uses STEM, with nearly half attributing their interest in STEM to the pathways it provides to make a positive impact on the world.

“The global climate crisis is one of the most urgent issues of our time. It’s very encouraging to hear that most young women surveyed recognize the need to act, but we must arm them with the necessary tools and reinforce the confidence they need to tackle climate issues head-on,” said Chris Crane, Exelon President and CEO and HeForShe Thematic Champion.

Designed to inspire and equip the next generation of climate leaders, the STEM Innovation Leadership Academy will provide a week-long curriculum that incorporates a series of hands-on STEM activities centered on climate action, visits to noteworthy energy and environmental landmarks and discussions with prominent female STEM leaders. Each of the three events will host approximately 60 young women and culminate with an Academy-wide Energy Innovation Challenge, encouraging participants to identify ways to increase energy efficiency on college campuses.

The second annual STEM Innovation Leadership Academy is a primary component of the Exelon Foundation’s commitment to the UN Women’s HeForShe initiative, which was created to foster a movement where men can become agents of change for gender equality. The second annual Academy is part of Exelon’s three-year, $3 million investment to encourage and support the involvement of young women in STEM.

“HeForShe is committed to mobilizing people of every gender identity and expression as advocates for gender equality,” said Elizabeth Nyamayaro, Senior Advisor to Under Secretary-General, Executive Director of UN Women and Global Head of the HeForShe Movement. “We’re proud to partner with Exelon for their STEM Innovation Leadership Academy in an effort to educate and empower young people to become leaders in fields that can make a global impact.”

“The Exelon STEM Innovation and Leadership Academy is a creative, comprehensive, and effective approach to exposing young people – especially girls – to science, technology, engineering and mathematics in practical and exciting ways that allow them to see a future in these fields,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “This event goes hand in hand with my proposed expansion of Maryland’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program, which Exelon has supported from the very beginning. I applaud you and appreciate the ongoing partnership.”

In 2018, Exelon contributed $13.7 million to education-related causes. In addition to the company’s investment in STEM programs for young women and girls, Exelon’s partnership with HeForShe also includes a commitment to improving the company’s retention of women by 2020, with a goal of reaching parity in voluntary turnover of men and women professionals.

To learn more about Exelon’s initiatives to promote gender equality and support the communities where its employees live and work, visit




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