The role of Instagram in diversifying women in STEM - Livestream
What does a scientist look like? We investigate the power of social media in shaping the vision of diverse female scientists using the popular Instagram page Women Doing Science as a case study. This social media platform has featured photos and stories from over 800 international women in STEM between 2018 and 2022. We analyzed posts from the page for trends in photo/caption content and engagement and cross referenced these data with results from several demographic surveys to both featured scientists and page followers. Our analysis revealed that Women Doing Science features reflected diverse, international female scientists that audiences not only rewarded with higher engagement, but also specifically sought out. This highlights the power of social media to portray role models with myriad identities for students that may lack real-life examples in their family or university. However, until the burden for DEI work shifts from students to those with greater institutional power, racial and gender gaps will persist and scientists will continue to rely on social media for inspiration.
Speaker: Alexandra Phillips, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
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