This month, the Brawny Man – red and black plaid flannel, ax wielding, muscular – is off the paper towel packaging for the first time since his inception in 1974. No, he didn’t tire of the monotony of watching grocery shoppers, or feel trapped in a dead-end job (though we wouldn’t be surprised if he’s using his vacation days to build a secluded cabin in Maine) – his absence is temporary, and it’s for a cause.
For Women’s History Month, Brawny is partnering with Girls Inc. in a #StrengthHasNoGender campaign. Together, the companies are donating $75,000 toward encouraging and supporting girls in STEM. As part of the campaign, Brawny is featuring a woman – red and black plaid flannel, red lipstick, in a powerful pose – on their packaging, and featuring the stories of barrier-breaking women in STEM on their website, including Duke University student Brittany Wenger.
In a narrative video Brawny created to share Brittany’s story, she details her reasons for choosing STEM as a career path and the challenges she’s faced in the field, encouraging young girls to choose to be strong women in STEM when they grow up.
Leading up to her entry in the 2012 Google Science Fair, Brittany spent five years teaching herself how to code and develop an “artificial brain” – a software program that can detect breast cancer through a minimally invasive procedure. She won first place, and since then, her Cloud4Cancer app has proven 99% accurate in more than 7.6 million trials. She’s spoken at TedxWomen, TedxAtlanta and was placed on Time’s “30 People Under 30 Changing the World” list. She’s currently a senior at Duke, studying biology and genomics. Now, she’s been chosen as a #StrengthHasNoGender STEM spokesperson.
“It was really nice to break down stereotypes of what people think a modern coder does look like,” Brittany says.