A new European Commission campaign that aims to 'encourage more women to choose research as a career,' has certainly captured the attention of the scientific community. But, as #sciencegirlthing-tagged responses on Twitter and comments posted to YouTube indicate, it has captured the community's attention for all the wrong reasons. (At press time, the campaign's official video has earned 47 'likes' and 1,665 'dislikes.')
European Research, Innovation, and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn says this new campaign "will show women and girls that science does not just mean old men in white coats." According to a European Commission press release, "the campaign will challenge stereotypes of science and show young girls and women that science is fun and can provide great opportunities."
But critics say that rather than challenging them, the "Science: It's a girl thing!" campaign engenders deeper stereotypes of women in science.
On Twitter, Tamsin Edwards writes: "Dear @ECspokesScience — is #sciencegirlthing a fiendish ploy to highlight the stereotyping of women and scientists?" To which Michael Jennings (@ECspokesScience) responds: "@flimsin Commission doesn't really do irony. Hope was to get young people onto site. That seems to be happening!"