Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Women Scientists on TikTok: New Opportunities to Become Visible and Challenge Gender Stereotypes

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Abstract:  Today, women scientists are still underrepresented in media coverage and confronted with gender stereotypes. However, social media might have the potential to challenge current gender stereotypes of scientists, foster diversity in science communication, and open new ways of becoming visible. We explore this potential by analyzing TikTok accounts of female scholars (n = 50 accounts). Results from content analysis (n = 150 videos) indicate that female scientists from a wide range of different disciplines and at different career stages are visible on TikTok. Building on previous research, we show that female scholars use TikTok mainly to explain scientific facts and concepts and to discuss what being a (female) scholar is like. Moreover, female scholars talk about private life events, give expert advice, and show science in the making. Finally, some of the videos analyzed address gender stereotypes by, for example, challenging assumptions on how a female professor should dress. Implications for science communication in the digital age are discussed.

Keywords:  female scholars; gender stereotypes; science communication; social media; TikTok

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v11i1.6070


© Brigitte Huber, Luis Quesada Baena. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.