EXPOsing gender in science: A visual analysis with lessons for gender awareness and science diplomacy

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Abstract

Worldwide mega-events have a significant political purpose, demon- strating various commitments to topics, such as energy conservation and gender equality. Gendered imagery at these major events can provide insight into an organizational or country perspective. The portrayal of people in imagery reinforces ideas and teaches audien- ces who are allowed to take-on various roles (e.g., doctors, teachers, or scientists). In other words, gender-balanced or -biased imagery could then either raise awareness to reduce a gender gap or reinforce gendered stereotypes. As such, this article examines gen- dered imagery at a mega event with a scientific-focus. The visual analysis uncovered the extent to which images of scientists shown across 10 European Union member-state country-pavilions at the Astana Expo (Kazakhstan) presented science as gender-balanced. Results demonstrated gendered depictions of science across the European states with varying levels of bias towards men, with no country-pavilion having a gender-equal presentation. Findings sug- gest the need to raise awareness about gender equality, including for science diplomacy.

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