'Human' or 'objective' faces of science? Gender stereotypes and the representation of scientists in the media

This article examines contemporary representations of female and male scientists in The New York Times with a particular emphasis on stereotypes related to gender and science as a profession. The selected series of profiles is approximately proportional in its representation of women in science and generally gives a rounded and diverse picture of their subjects. Traditionally ‘masculine’ characteristics (e.g. individual drive and brilliance) as well as ‘feminine’ communal skills (e.g. collaboration, communication and teamwork) are attributed to both male and female scientists. Nevertheless, textual and image analyses reveal that some differences remain in the treatment of male and female subjects, particularly in the unequal focus on combining family and career. This research identifies progress in media representations of scientists in comparison to previous studies. However, there is still room for improvement, especially in the representation of scientists from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

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Citation

Mitchell, M & McKinnon, M 2019, ''Human' or 'objective' faces of science? Gender stereotypes and the representation of scientists in the media', Public Understanding of Science, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 177-190.

ANU Gender Institute member author
Merryn McKinnon
 
Year
2019
 
 

 

Audience

Public

Network

Gender Institute

Date posted

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute