STEM Makes Scents: The Women behind the Science of Fragrance

IFRA and AAUW Collaborate to Discuss the Importance of STEM Careers for Young Women

Washington, D.C. – In cooperation with Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) and Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN), the International Fragrance Association, North America (IFRA North America) and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) held a forum on Capitol Hill to highlight the fragrance industry as a conduit for STEM careers for young women. The panels discussed the heavy reliance on the sciences for fragrance innovation and how women can benefit from access to education and jobs in this field.

“STEM Makes Scents: The Women behind the Science of Fragrance,” featured executives, chemists and perfumers from fragrance manufacturers showcasing fragrance industry innovation and its reliance on the sciences. Also presented was AAUW research, Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering & Computing,” on findings that point to environmental and social barriers that continue to block women’s participation and progress in the STEM fields.

“Our competitiveness as a nation depends on ensuring that employers can draw from a STEM-educated workforce,” said Congresswoman Esty. “In order to compete effectively, we need to make sure that our young women and girls have the STEM skills they need to excel in high-demand careers. By highlighting innovative careers held by women in the fragrance industry, we are shining a light on women in STEM and encouraging the next generation of women leaders.”

“Everyone has a favorite scent or perfume, but rarely do individuals stop to think about the science and scientists that work to create them,” said Jennifer Abril, President, IFRA North America. “STEM careers are vital to the innovation, sustainability and growth of the fragrance industry. From sourcing and distilling natural materials, to replicating scents found in nature, to discovering and designing new aromatic molecules, the industry relies heavily on a workforce trained in the sciences and technology as well as engineering and math,” added Abril.

“By 2022, more than 9.2 million jobs in the country will be related to STEM fields. Women – now representing close to 57% of the workforce – are still significantly underrepresented in these occupations. Women’s intellect and voices need to be a part of the technologies and products created by these areas. Access to STEM education and careers, like those in the fragrance industry, are vital to ensuring our country’s economic stability and we know women are a key part of that equation,” said AAUW CEO Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “It’s 2015. Our country must fully utilize all of its human potential.”

“Connecting young people, particularly young women and girls, with in-demand and unique career paths in STEM will advance our workforce,” said Congresswoman Brooks. “I am hopeful that exposure to new STEM career opportunities will help attract, retain and encourage more women in STEM.”

Photos of the event are available at


Media Contacts

​​Gregory Minchak (IFRANA)

Amy Becker (AAUW)