Still, only about one in three STEM professionals on TV and film are women, new study shows
Unfortunately, you can’t tune out this trend.
In the past 10 years, the portrayal of women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields on television and film hasn’t changed all that much, according to new research from the Lyda Hill Foundation, which funds advances in science and nature, and Geena Davis’s Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University.
“There are plenty of stories to be told of women on the front lines of scientific breakthroughs and innovation, but their stories are seldomly brought to the forefront of popular culture,” said Lyda Hill, founder of the Lyda Hill Foundation.
Indeed, the study found that roughly two thirds (63%) of STEM professionals portrayed in media are men — a number that has not improved in the past decade. That means that just 37% of STEM professionals on TV are women or girls — according to the study, which analysed the most-watched television/cable shows, films, and streaming shows from 2007 – 2017.
What’s more, minorities don’t fare much better: “The vast majority of STEM characters in entertainment media were White (71.2%),” the report revealed. Meanwhile, fewer than 17% were black, fewer than 6% were Asian/Asian-American (5.6%) and less than 4% were Latin or Middle Eastern.
This matters because girls and women may be more likely to go into STEM if they see other women doing so. And that choice can impact their bottom line, big time. STEM jobs pay significantly more than non-STEM jobs, on average. Indeed, data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that the projected average salary of a 2017 grad with an engineering degree is about $66,000, computer science $65,500 and math and science $59,368; a humanities grad, meanwhile, can expect to make just $48,700.
While there still aren’t enough women and minorities in STEM roles, there are some badass characters that have inspired real-life women to get into STEM. Among the girls women who say they intend to pursue a STEM career, these are the 12 characters that helped inspire them to do so, according to the research:
1. 79.0% – April Sexton, Chicago Med
2. 78.5% – Addison Montgomery, Private Practice
3. 77.7% – Temperance Brennan, Bones
4. 76.7% – Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy
5. 75.9% – Abby Sciuto, NCIS 6. 75.6% – Abby Lockhart, ER
7. 74.3% – McKeyla McAlister, Project Mc2
8. 73.0% – Alexx Woods, CSI:Miami
9. 68.7% – Dana Scully, The X Files
10. 64.1% – Amy Farrah Fowler, Big Bang Theory
11. 63.9% – Mindy Lahiri, The Mindy Project
12. 51.4% – Doc McStuffins, Doc McStuffins
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