A new video created by the European Commission to encourage teenage girls to consider becoming scientists has raised some eyebrows with its images of models, make-up, and fashion. The video - 'Science: It's A Girl Thing!' - features three young women in high heels and miniskirts being watched by a guy in a lab coat, fast cuts between a tube of lipstick and a bunsen burner, and lots of close-up shots of make-up.
Encouraging European women to consider a career in science seems like a great idea: according to the European Commission - the body responsible for the day-to-day running of the European Union - women make up more than half of the EU's student population, but less than a third of career researchers. But some commentators feel the video takes a misguided approach: writing in the New Statesman, journalist Martha Gill says "this kind of campaign insults women who are interested in science already and can more than hold their own with the boys. They're the ones we need to think about".
The Washington Post has a round-up of some of the other negative responses from the scientific and journalistic communities, including this Tweet from Helen Pearson, a writer and editor for 'Nature' magazine:
Thnx to EC #sciencegirlthing, reminded that no time to write for Nature today. Off to do nails + strut in 4'' heels.— Helen Pearson (@hcpearson) June 22, 2012
The teaser video is the first part of a broader campaign, which also includes a website and a Facebook page. According to European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, the second phase of the campaign will focus on encouraging female students to pursue scientific careers. Geoghegan-Quinn says the goal of the video is "to overturn clichés and show women and girls, and boys too, that science is not about old men in white coats". Check out the video below:
What do you think about this video? Does the imagery offend you, or do you consider it a good way to get girls interested in science and research? Let us know in the poll below:
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