[Equal] Kids draw scientists

Widmer Maya mwidmer at snf.ch
Fri Sep 14 16:26:08 MEST 2007

Liebe Equals,
ich bin auf der Suche nach den Studien, die Londa Schiebinger in ihrer Key Note an der Berliner-Konferenz im April erwähnt hat (Auszug s. unten). Es geht in diesen Studien darum, dass Jugendliche Wissenschafter(innen) zeichnen. Ich bin vor allem an diesen Bildern interessiert. Falls jemand zufälligerweise diese Studien kennt und mir genauere Angaben bzw. Literaturhinweise geben kann, danke ich schon im Voraus. 
Freundliche Grüsse
Maya Widmer
(...) In my lifetime, the situation for intellectual women in the United States has improved dramatically. We can measure these changes iconographically. Anyone growing up in the US or in Europe consumer cultures understands the power of images. Images project messages, hopes and dreams, mien and demeanor, about who should be a scientist and what science is all about. 
Now we see some ... I am going to give you some before and after pictures. This is the before picture, before feminism changes science. This is a "draw a scientist" test or contest. Highschool kids drew scientists, and then the experts made a composite image out of all the little pictures that they drew. So of these pictures, 63 percent of the pictures the scientists, were drawn with lab coats, 48 percent were drawn with facial hair, 25 percent have the pocket protectors (scientists can't go anywhere without their pocket protector), 86 percent had eye glasses, and of course down here is what we are interested: 92 percent were male. This was drawn in the 1980s. Now by the 1990s we had a few different images. You know, the hair seems to be important to science. But here we see that the number of males has been reduced to 70 percent of the images. Sixteen percent of the scientists were drawn clearly female, and you see this anorexic-looking stick figure over here of a female. She is outside in the field, looking at flowers, which I think is - you know - interesting. But I draw your attention to figure F over there, the text of which you can't read. The kids drew that image to be ambiguous with respect to sex, because they said: "Sex doesn't matter in science". That's a really interesting development. There pictures were drawn in the United States, and remarkable 96 percent of the scientists drawn were Caucasian, despite the prominence of Asians in science in the US. So it's remarkable that there is this slippage still between ideal and reality. 

Maya Widmer
Schweizerischer Nationalfonds
Gleichstellung Forschungsförderung
Wildhainweg 3
Postfach 8232
CH-3001 Bern

Tel. +41 (0) 31 308 22 22
Fax  +41 (0) 31 305 29 74
mwidmer at snf.ch

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