What's the deal with women and STEM? Though women fill close to half the jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math. And why is that? A controversial new video released by the European Commission suggests that females give STEM the cold shoulder because they think that being a scientist, well, just isn't very sexy.
Entitled "Science: It's A Girl Thing!," the one-minute music video intermixes images of sexy babes in short skirts and stilettos with images from the world of science -- beakers, circuit boards, molecular models, and the like. The video seems to say that scientists can be fashionistas, and vice versa.
"This campaign will show women and girls that science does not just mean old men in white coats," Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner, said in a written statement. "We hope that by providing positive role models and by explaining the options we can persuade more young women to stick with science."
But so far the only thing the video has persuaded women to do is express their outrage over what many see -- ironically -- as a sexist affront to femininity.
"This kind of campaign insults women who are interested in science already and can more than hold their own with the boys," Martha Gill wrote in the "New Statesman." "They're the ones we need to think about."
But the debate continues.
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