The British Consulate and the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media have partnered to conduct the first systematic assessment of the role media plays in the persistent STEM gender gap. This groundbreaking report examines the portrayal of STEM characters in the top children’s film, television, and streaming content across the U.K. Given media’s profound influence on young viewers, understanding the messages conveyed about STEM to girls, boys, and gender-nonconforming kids is crucial for determining whether media is a force for encouragement or discouragement in pursuing STEM careers.

Key Findings

Gender Disparities in STEM Representation

  • Male STEM characters outnumber female counterparts nearly two to one in the U.S., with a similar trend observed in the U.K.
  • Significant gaps exist in leadership roles, with male characters more likely to be depicted as leaders in STEM fields.

Comparative Analysis: U.S. vs U.K.

  • The U.K. shows a higher proportion of female STEM leads compared to the U.S., highlighting regional differences in media representation.
  • U.S. female STEM characters often sacrifice personal lives for work at a higher rate than their U.K. counterparts.

Diversity Beyond Gender

  • People of color are well-represented as STEM characters in family television, with female characters of color exceeding the representation of the U.K. population.
  • However, STEM characters are underrepresented in terms of LGBTQIA+, disabilities, older adults, and those with larger body types, indicating areas for improvement.


For Parents

  • Encourage girls to pursue STEM activities and studies. Don’t wait for them to tell you that they have an interest; cultivate it!
  • Engage in childhood STEM activities with your daughter(s), such as playing with blocks, Legos, and other construction toys as well as playing board games and coding video games.
  • Make a point to watch content that features girls and women in STEM, especially shows with girls and women of color.
  • Provide STEM role models for your daughter(s). They can be real-life STEM professionals or STEM characters in popular films or television.

For Content Creators

  • Continue to write and cast projects with prominent STEM characters of color.
  • Continue to write female STEM characters as competent, intelligent, empowered, working collaboratively, and using STEM to help others rather than for self-interest.
  • Write and cast more female characters in STEM professions and engaging in STEM activities. Cultivate girls’ interest in math and science from an early age through media role models!
  • Write and cast more female STEM characters as leaders.
  • Write and cast more projects that depict parents, teachers, and others encouraging girl characters in their STEM pursuits.
  • Make a point to write/cast female characters across a variety of STEM occupations.
  • Write and cast projects that avoid the cliché of girls and women as sex objects. Let female STEM characters be all different ages, body sizes, levels of attractiveness, etc.
  • Write and cast projects that bust STEM stereotypes.
  • Write and cast more projects that represent diversity in STEM characters when it comes to LGBTQIA+ individuals, people with disabilities, adults ages 50 and older, and people with large body types. Greater diversity of STEM characters means more people will be inspired because they see themselves represented.