Science: it’s a girl thing. Or, what do test tubes have to do with lipstick?

25 Jun

Do outreach projects aimed at increasing the numbers of females and non-whites in a particular field work?

The recent attempt spearheaded by the European Commission to increase the number of female scientists in the European Union and beyond has come under fire by just about everybody. The project introduced itself with a short, flashy video where 3 girls strut towards the camera, wearing short skirts, strappy shoes, and safety goggles. The girls are glimpsed looking through telescopes in fancy outfits, striding through a laboratory with a smart haircut and a knowing smile.

The tagline–“Science: It’s a Girl Thing”–is written across the screen in lipstick, the “i” in Science an opened container of lipstick. This is confusing, to say the least, for it would appear that the project is aimed at the science of cosmetology over and against the hard sciences of biology, chemistry or physics.

Does the European Commission believe that the only way to get girls interested in science is to treat the field like a game of dress-up, using the set design of a Miss Universe pageant?


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