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Gender, stereotypes and expertise in the press: how newspapers represent female and male scientists.

Kitzinger, Jenny, Chimba, Mwenya Diana, Williams, Andy, Haran, Joan and Boyce, Tammy 2008. Gender, stereotypes and expertise in the press: how newspapers represent female and male scientists. [Project Report]. UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (UKRC) and Cardiff University. Available at: http://cf.ac.uk/jomec/resources/Kitzinger_Report_2...

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Abstract

This report is part of a series of four reports examining the representation of gender and science. The work was commissioned by the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (UKRC). This part of the research examined coverage of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) in twelve UK national newspapers over a six month period. The main findings are: • Men are much more often cited as expert scientific sources than women: 5 men are quoted by journalists for every 1 woman. The same is true for indepth interviews: 5 male scientists are profiled in the press for every 1 female scientist. • Journalists are more likely to comment on appearance when writing about women: half the profiles of female scientists mentioned clothing, physique or hairstyle whereas the equivalent was true for only a fifth of the profiles of male scientists. • Descriptions of women can imply a contradiction between being a ‘real woman’ and a ‘real scientist’. Women in SET who are seen as conforming to traditional stereotypes such as ‘the geek’ are sometimes implicitly presented as unfeminine. Alternatively, if they are ‘sexy’ and ‘glamorous’ their status as scientists may be thrown into question. • By contrast, descriptions of men working in SET seem to confirm men’s status as bona fide scientists, computer whiz-kids or technological innovators. • Our interviews with scientists reveal the negative impact that genderstereotypes and scrutiny of appearance can have on women working in male-dominated work places. These interviews also highlight how media industries may constrain the range of publicly available images of women working in SET. Our report concludes with recommendations for journalists who wish to avoid reinforcing inequalities and for organisations seeking to promote the positive representation of women in SET.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen)
Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NE Print media
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Additional Information: Research Report Series for UKRC No.2 ISBN: 9781905831173 Research Report
Publisher: UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (UKRC) and Cardiff University
ISBN: 9781905831173
Funders: UKRC
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:53
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/28633

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