Bimbo or boffin? Women in science: An analysis of media representations and how female scientists negotiate cultural contradictions

Title: Bimbo or boffin? Women in science: An analysis of media representations and how female scientists negotiate cultural contradictions

Year: 2010

Journal / Publication: Public Understanding of Science

Volume: 19

Issue: 5

Pages: 609 – 624

Authors:

Chimba, Mwenya

Kitzinger, Jenny

Abstract:

This paper examines the gendered representations of scientists in the UK media. Our analysis reveals the asymmetrical ways in which men and women working in science, engineering and technology are portrayed, in particular through the emphasis on women’s appearance and a focus on their exceptional status. It also highlights the way female scientists may be used to “sex up” the discipline in the context of increasing concern about the (un)popularity of science. This media analysis is contextualized by drawing on data from 86 scientists examining how women themselves experience press and television coverage and address the cultural contradictions surrounding their role. The research highlights the challenges facing women working in these fields and the dilemmas for those seeking to develop a “human” face for science and promote a positive image for women.

Link: http://pus.sagepub.com/content/19/5/609.abstract

Keywords:

Gender

Identity

Media

Public Engagement

Role Models