“The European Commission’s video “Science : It’s a Girl Thing!” (reposted here) was an unfortunate, although well meaning, marketing blunder that takes away from the commission’s excellent website and efforts to attract women to science. Taken down almost as soon as it was put up, the response to this video affirms that the topic of women in science is still attracting a high level of interest, although in this case it was for the wrong reasons. Selling science with sex only feeds the continuing media focused hyper-sexualization of our society, and especially of our young women, something we really don’t need any more of, thank you.
We need to understand that you can’t fight a stereotype by using another. Our society comprises individuals with tremendous diversity in appearance, histories, affiliations and passions. Science and engineering are no different. The fields are open to more than one gender, different appearances, and individuals with varying passions.
Women in science and engineering take on some of the world’s most significant challenges to change and shape our future for the years to come. They create new technology, pioneer environmental improvements, serve our society, and change our lives.
The only stereotype that needs apply is a shared passion to be awesome. So pass the oscilloscope, the gumboots, the petri dish, the keyboard, the pitot tube, the microscope. Let’s get on with the awesomeness of science.”
Elizabeth A. Croft, Ph.D., P.Eng, FASME, FEC
Professor & NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, BC and Yukon
Director, Collaborative Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Systems Laboratory
Mechanical Engineering | Faculty of Applied Science | University of British Columbia
Watch the video response here