Women in science


U.S. and other publics perceive STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields as masculine and scientist as a male occupation, but Japanese public perception remains unstudied. Using an online survey, we identified keywords associated with physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, information science, biology, and mathematics. A second online survey showed that the Japanese public perceived both keywords and fields as masculine. This trend was stronger in individuals with less egalitarian attitudes towards gender roles. We suggest that attitude towards gender roles contributes to the masculine image of science in Japan.


Many studies have examined the impression that the general public has of science and how this can prevent girls from choosing science fields. Using an online questionnaire, we investigated whether the public perception of several academic fields was gender-biased in Japan. First, we found the gender-bias gap in public perceptions was largest in nursing and mechanical engineering. Second, people who have a low level of egalitarian attitudes toward gender roles perceived that nursing was suitable for women. Third, people who have a low level of egalitarian attitudes perceived that many STEM fields are suitable for men. This suggests that gender-biased perceptions toward academic fields can still be found in Japan.


As science communication programs grow worldwide, effective evaluation and assessment metrics lag. While there is no consensus on evaluation protocols specifically for science communication training, there is agreement on elements of effective training: listening, empathy, and knowing your audience — core tenets of improvisation. We designed an evaluation protocol, tested over three years, based on validated and newly developed scales for an improvisation-based communication training at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. Initial results suggest that ‘knowing your audience’ should apply to training providers as they design and evaluate their curriculum, and gender may be a key influence on outcomes.


Who speaks for “citizen science” on Twitter? Which territory of citizen science have they made visible so far? This paper offers the first description of the community of users who dedicate their online social media identity to citizen science. It shows that Twitter users who identify with the term “citizen science” are mostly U.S. science professionals in environmental sciences, and rarely projects' participants. In contrast to the original concept of “citizen science”, defined as a direct relationship between scientists and lay participants, this paper makes visible a third category of individual actors, mostly women, who connect these lay participants and scientists: the “citizen science broker”.


As science communication develops as a field of both practice and research, it needs to address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion across a wide range, including race, power, class, gender. Doing so will require deeper understanding of conceptual work and practical activities that address those issues. This brief comment introduces a series of commentaries that provide one approach: feminist approaches to science communication.


We used content analysis to analyse the representation of female scientists in animated short films on gender and science, selected from the Anima Mundi Festival, over 21 annual editions. In these films, female scientists are featured as ‘intelligent’, ‘dominant’ and ‘well respected’, adult, white, wearing a lab coat or uniform and working in laboratories and fieldwork. We identified a reconfiguration of the gender stereotype in films in which the female character is about to gain space and visibility. We also analysed films whose sexist foundations in the relationship between scientists and their interlocutors reinforce the reproduction of sexist and heteronormative stereotypes.


This is a conference review of the 2nd Commemoration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which had the theme Gender, Science and Sustainable Development: The Impact of Media. It was held in United Nations Headquarters, New York City, U.S.A., and a parallel event was held simultaneously in Valetta, Malta. There were 45 listed speakers from 24 countries, with a gender ratio of 2:1 in favour of women. The contribution of the media to socio-cultural barriers facing girls and women in STEM was well-illustrated. However, few actionable solutions were proposed.


In Europe, much effort has been devoted to explore the causes of the decline in number of university matriculations of science students and to identify gender differences in career choice. Yet, the problem extends to the fulfillment of career plans: given their professional expectations and their attitudes when choosing a career, girls are much less likely to pursue scientific careers such as engineering or physics. Evidence of this is provided by the social research carried out within the framework of the GAPP project (Gender Awareness Participation Process). The Gapp project is intended to investigate differences between girls and boys in their perception of science careers and to propose a range of innovative and concrete participatory activities involving scientists, engineers and professionals from the public and private S&T sectors. In this letter, we report a synthesis of the results of the social research conducted as first step of the project: exploring how the perceptions of science professions affect interest, motivation and subject choice at school, at the university and consequently in their career.

Subscribe to Women in science