Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Alex phillips british society in a globalising world presentation gender


Published on

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Alex phillips british society in a globalising world presentation gender

  1. 1. Bimbo or boffin? Women in science: an analysis of media representations and how female scientists negotiate cultural contradictions Mwenya Chimba and Jenny Kitzinger A presentation by Alex Phillips
  2. 2. Background • Gendered representations of scientists in UK media: Asymmetrical portrayal of Males & Females working in Science, Engineering &Technology (SET) • Emphasis onWomen'sAppearance and Exceptional Status • Women used to ‘sex up’ popularity • Focus on 86 scientists how women experience media and contradictions around their role • Highlights challenges and promote positive image
  3. 3. Introduction • Girls and women are under-represented in science, engineering and technology (SET).They are less likely than boys/men to opt to study SET at school and university (Rees, 2001;Roberts, 2002) • Women make up 39.5% of “science professionals,” 14.6% of “ICT professionals” and only 5.4% of “engineering professionals” (UKRC, 2008). • The media help to define people’s sense of taken-for-granted normality (Eldridge et al., 1997) • Females marginalised • Women require ‘masculine’ attributes • Focus on marriage and motherhood
  4. 4. Method • Analysis of press coverage and interviews with scientists on media • Pursued other stakeholders • 12 National Newspaper analysis of SET coverage • 7903 articles on SET with 51 profiles on leading scientists • Identified 2 high profile female UK scientists • 86 female scientists participated via questionnaires and interviews • Published reports allowing for debate from stakeholders
  5. 5. Findings from analysis of newspaper profiles • Only 16% female scientists profiled in UK, with even fewer at higher positions • Half ofWomen profiles referred to appearance compared to 21% Male • “She is impressive, an immaculately groomed woman of 70, who could easily pass for 15 years younger” (Parry,TheTimes, 18 February 2006) • Such descriptions may be trying to break down stereotypes, but draw attention away from their profession • ‘MediaWhore’ Risky trying to promote profession, rather seen as self promotion • Sexualised descriptions
  6. 6. A view from Scientists in the public eye • Some happy with coverage whereas others concerned • Concerns: • Focus on being female- : “female scientist says x, y and z … [but] why should the fact that I am a female make any difference whatsoever?” • Personal life- a journalist enquired whether she had a boyfriend • Disproportionate focus on sexuality and femininity- sexualized her interaction with the school pupils with whom she had worked (getting teenagers “all steamed up over science”)
  7. 7. The significance of appearance for women at work • Historically stereotyped as unattractive but now often framed as ultra- feminine • Mixed feelings about appearance: • “terribly business-like almost as if to succeed you have to play by the men’s rules.” • The media often frame women scientists as ultra-feminine • Appearance: ultra elegant, masculine, avoid bright colours & where fluorescent jacket to blend in
  8. 8. Conclusion • Male Scientists the norm whilst women exceptional • Scarcity ofWomen in the Media • Women welcome on public stage in certain capacities • Focus often on appearance • CertainTypes ofWomen receive attention, often implying contradictions between ‘airheads’ and ‘eggheads ‘,‘boffins’ and ‘bimbos’
  9. 9. Thanks for listening