Disproving sex-based biological determinism in one graph from No Ceilings, with more data on the phenomenon at their website.
Barbie dolls are not real people. The pictures of actors and models in magazines are barely real people (thanks to Photoshop). The actress in this car commercial is not a real scientist.
It does, however, show anyone watching commercials during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament a stylish woman of color driving a nice car and doing complex-looking mathematics* in her head.
It shows someone who is not white, not male, not bearded, not with crazy hair, not with disheveled clothes, not with sub-par social skills doing complex-looking mathematics* in her head.
As we increasingly recognize that recruiting and retaining a diverse STEM workforce requires presenting individuals in that field with whom they can identify, we have a car company showing us that. This actress may not be a real scientist, but my four-year-old daughter won’t know that her concepts of who can be a scientist will have been expanded positively by a commercial while Daddy watched Duke play basketball on TV.
*I do not have the gift for going “oh, that is X equation” on sight. So, I will leave it up to you, dear readers, to evaluate the actual complexity and accuracy of the mathematical imagery.
This week, Science for the People is celebrating Women in Science by looking at the victories and challenges of women working in science, technology, engineering and math. Join us for a panel discussion with postdoctoral research associate and science communicator Raychelle “Dr. Rubidium” Burks, Colgate University Professor of Psychology Jessica Cundiff, Ph.D., Physics Professor Dr. Shohini Ghose, Director of the Wilfrid Laurier University Centre for Women in Science, and Catherine Hill, Ph.D, vice president for research at the American Association of University Women. We also speak to Brianna Wu, Head of Development at videogame company Giant Spacekat, about feminism, gaming industry culture, and her experience as an outspoken critic of #GamerGate.
*Josh provides research & social media help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.