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Discourses of Women Scientists in Online Media: Towards New Gender Regimes?

Marie-Pierre Moreau, Heather Mendick

Abstract


The under-representation of girls and women among those studying and working in science, engineering and technology (SET) is a well-documented phenomenon. However, despite the widespread use of the internet in most Western societies, there is a dearth of research examining discourses of women scientists in online media. In this paper, we explore how the ‘gender regimes’ of online SET can be deemed transformative or, on the contrary, reproduce some of the most common clichés about men and women found in the wider ‘gender order’ (Connell, 1987). To do this, we explore in a systematic manner the construction of women and men in SET within 16 websites, with a particular focus on discourses of women in SET. We argue that the ‘gender regimes’ of these online SET spaces have failed to generate a more gender equal view of scientists. Yet, we also identify a variety of gender regimes across websites, both in terms of the numerical presence of women scientists and of the way they are represented, something which highlights the egalitarian potential of online media.


Keywords


online media; gender; SET; discourse; women

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