For us who are interested enough to enrol in a science communication course, stereotypes in science is an age-old phenomenon that is “hard to accept”. Gender schemas are important for the development of children’s gender identity. However, children also often learn gender stereotypes from gender schemas. Children are greatly influenced by what they watch in the media and what they read in books. Take a look at this science comic strip from a highly popular children science magazine.
The scientist is alone. He wears the all familiar white lab coat. He works with sophisticated equipment. He is unkempt with facial hair and the list goes on.
On the other hand, where do we go from here in order to break away from this stereotype? A recent video commissioned by the EU to promote science to girls has only proven that such stereotypes are more deeply rooted than we can ever imagine. For friends who haven’t watched this video before, it can still be found in this link.
For every few steps made ahead in science communication, there will be one step that intervenes in another direction. Public awareness of science is an on-going process. With each intervention, we learn a little bit more about science and societal norms.