Why aren’t there more women in science? Well, a huge part of the problem is that girls just aren’t encouraged to study STEM as much as boys are. And that won’t change unless someone steps up to the plate, which is why this incredible nonprofit is getting girls to pursue careers in science by infecting them with a disease for which there is no known cure.

Yes! Let’s hear it for girls in STEM!

The program, Girls Reach, has visited hundreds of schools, infecting girls ages 10-18 with an extremely rare cardiovascular disease that doctors are currently unable to treat. By giving girls a disease that starts in the aorta and spreads progressively throughout the body, Girls Reach is challenging young women to pursue science or else. And we could not be more excited to see this new generation of badass girl scientists in action!

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If the girls’ debilitating symptoms are any indication, the days of science being a boys’ club may soon be a thing of the past. These girls are very sick!

“Since we started, our goal has been to show girls that not only can they succeed in STEM, but they have to if they want to live to 25,” said Suzanne Wells, co-founder of Girls Reach. “STEM provides a career path for these girls. Along with that comes independence, pride, and hope that one day they’ll discover the cure for the disease that so far has confounded the most advanced minds in medical science.”

“For too long, the many science careers that require a background in STEM have been reserved for men. It’s time we made girls sick enough to change that,” she added.

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Right on! Too often, we push boys into science careers while relegating girls largely to the humanities, so it’s refreshing to see a group getting young women to either rigorously pursue careers in science or say goodbye to their ability to walk, taste, smell, and, in some cases, recognize faces.

What an inspiring mission. The organization also has plans to spread the incurable illness internationally to get girls all around the world pouring into STEM fields as their only hope of survival. Girl power!