Earlier today the European Commission launched a promotional video for a campaign to get more girls interested in the subject of science and to potentially consider a career in science. The output was some what different to what many may have expected – very dumb and overtly sexual. It’s picked up a lot of flak from the different social media channels but does this really make it a mistake?
The aim of the video was to raise awareness of the campaign and to push interested people towards their website where they have real world science women talking about what they do as a day in the life of a scientist. The theory is good but is it working?
If you look at the stats for the rest of the videos that are hosted on the http://science-girl-thing.eu website then you would potentially come to the conclusion that it’s not really having a lot of impact. The launch video at the time of writing had 2645 views whilst all the rest of the role model video’s put together have had 1862 views. So all in all people aren’t finding the role model video’s.
Social media however has stepped in and the international science community now have #realwomenofscience trending on Twitter with hundreds of real world examples of amazing women scientists being put forward. This has opened up an opportunity for the EC to capture these real world women and promoting them. However is this really going to work? People aren’t looking at the current video’s so is it really worth the time and effort for them to get these additional women to take time out making new video’s? Probably not. Instead there is an opportunity for the press to get involved in a positive way. Currently they are writing about the disaster that is the EC campaign, some are pointing out real world examples but many aren’t even going that far.
My advice to parents who are looking to inspire their youngsters to consider a career in science would be to contact a local science firm and ask if your child can come and visit. Get experience first hand to see what a career in science is really all about, show how science changes the world and where it can be applied in real life. The classroom is very different to real life and reading about theorems and learning formula’s can seem dull but when you find out how to put that into practice by making drugs like paracetamol it suddenly has real world impact and opportunity.
Why not also look on YouTube for some great examples of what kids are experimenting with and show what you can do with science. Here’s a fun video showing a youngster making their own lava lamp with household items.
And yes it has a LOT more hits than the role model video’s, lets use real science to inspire our youngsters.