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'I hate pink. It is hugely patronising to think making things pink will get girls into science'

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Dr Kat Arney hasn't got much time for current efforts to get girls into STEM subjects. The science communications manager for Cancer Research UK and leading science writer and author says that strategies tend to focus on pandering to stereotypes of what people think girls are like, and this is in many cases offensive. 

"It feels like we have been talking about the problem of women in science forever," she says. "But it is not just a problem for science, it is in all professional careers that women struggle to be treated equally, promoted and encouraged. It is not a science problem, it is a society problem.

"However, if we look at science in particular, I find it incredibly patronising when people say, 'Let's get girls into science by giving them a pink microscope.' I hate pink. I am not a pink girly-girl. When I was younger, I wanted to be a witch. I wanted a chemistry set to create a wizard's cave.

"Strategies need to appeal to all women, to real women. Women in science are a diverse group of individuals and we need to showcase that diversity, not put all women in a bucket and say women in science need to be like 'this'."

You can watch the full interview with Dr Arney below.


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Dr Kat Arney wrote the cover feature in the 22 January issue of TES. Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook


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