Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Women Scientists in Fiction

Helen Merrick, a lecturer in the department of Film and Television at the Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia, has started a project compiling a database of women scientists in fiction. The background:

A significant body of research has examined the factors impeding women's progress in or choice of science, such as: the lack of positive role models; the continued 'double burden' of family and career; and the recalcitrance of cultural images that code science - and scientists - as 'male'. Much attention focuses on girl's early education choices, with the paucity of positive role models (particularly in the media) seen as an important factor.

While we have seen an increase in apparently capable female scientists in film and TV, such representations are often compromised or undercut by their reliance on stereotypes of normative femininity. One space where non-traditional and even feminist re-visions of the female scientist occur is in the literary genre of science fiction. This form has allowed a number of authors to explore the ways in which women might do science differently, or how women's equal participation might result in different models of science.

I think there is the potential for an interesting analysis, but I suspect the list of entries is far from complete. Merrick is asking for character suggestions, so if you know of any be sure to add them to the list.

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Heather said...

Just a mention for LabLit ( which I will go over and suggest to Helen just after this. Worth a look for everyone.