Opportunity’s Knocking – Are Young Adult Women Prepared?

Actress Raven-Symoné and Merck Encourage Young Adult Women to Make a Plan For Their Future

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Thursday, April 26, 2012 8:08 am EDT

Dateline:

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.

Public Company Information:

NYSE:
MRK
"Plan It Forward is all about helping women plan and to consider how things like family planning, internships, and volunteering fit into your roadmap."

More women today graduate from college, are running for office, and have top level executive roles at Fortune 500 companies. But some things can alter the course of her journey – so having a plan can make a difference. That’s why Merck has partnered with sitcom scene-stealer turned Broadway superstar Raven-Symoné to launch Plan It Forward, a campaign that empowers young adult women to map out their future plans and gives them some resources to help them get started. The campaign, debuting today on HerCampus.com, also encourages young adult women to consider how an unplanned pregnancy could impact her journey, and how family planning fits into her roadmap.

Whether young adult women dream about getting an education, raising a family, landing a successful career or travelling the globe – creating a road map for how to reach these goals can be an important first step. To better understand how young adult women approach their plans, Merck commissioned a survey, conducted by GfK amongst 700 women ages 18-25. That survey revealed that one in three (32%) out of the 393 women who want to put a plan in place don’t know where to start when it comes to putting a plan in place for their future.

“I believe that young adult women today can accomplish anything they put their minds to, but having a plan in place can be important in helping those dreams become a reality. I’ve been very fortunate to have had a successful career for many years, but it’s more than luck that’s gotten me here today,” said Raven-Symoné. “Plan It Forward is all about helping women plan and to consider how things like family planning, internships, and volunteering fit into your roadmap.”

The Merck-sponsored survey found that of the 466 women who were not looking to start a family now, many said that it was important for them to achieve their personal goals. For many young adult women, an unplanned pregnancy could alter the course of their plan. However, statistics show that there were more than 3 million unintended pregnancies in the United States alone, with the highest incidence occurring with women 20-24 years old in 2006.

“Pregnancy planning and contraception are important considerations for young women as they consider their future,” said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “So important, in fact, that the CDC recognizes family planning as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century."

Merck encourages anyone who needs help getting started with their plan for the future to visit the Plan It Forward section of HerCampus.com to access tools such as the Plan It Forward Course Creator that helps women navigate the planning process and consider potential obstacles, next steps and deadlines. While on Her Campus, women can also help to “pay it forward” and learn more about She’s the First, a not-for-profit that sponsors girls’ education, helping them be the first in their families to graduate. As part of the Plan It Forward campaign, Merck has made a $25,000 donation to She’s the First.

Additional Survey Findings

A third (31%) of 320 women who plan on having children someday said that they plan on waiting at least four years to do so.

Getting an education or degree was the number one thing women hoped to achieve in the next few years (69%). Women also listed travel (56%) and focusing on their career (58%) as important goals.

When it comes to putting a life plan in place, a third of women (33%) said they need general tools and guidance.

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted online within the United States by GfK on behalf of Merck from September 22 – October 6, 2011 among 700 women aged 18-25.

About She’s the First

She’s the First is a not-for-profit that sponsors girls’ education in the developing world, helping them be the first in their families to graduate. In the process, She’s the First fosters leadership and self-awareness in young Americans, by inspiring them to lead creative fundraisers and correspond with sponsored students. Their efforts shape a rising generation of well-educated global leaders, future philanthropists, and cross-cultural communicators.

About Her Campus

Her Campus is an online magazine for college women, individualizing its content college-by-college by establishing My Campus branches at schools across the country. With national content on Style, Beauty, Health, Love, Life, and Career, supplemented by campus-specific content produced by teams of students at 200+ colleges across the country, Her Campus serves as a hub for everything college women need to know about today. HerCampus.com is the flagship website of Her Campus Media LLC.

About Merck

Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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