After Complete #FAIL, the European Commission Finds Some Way Better Videos to Promote Women in Science

By Rebecca J. Rosen

Perhaps you remember this gem of a social-media effort from the European Commission, a sad, sorry attempt to make science seem more alluring to young women. (Ack! Sorry to even embed this. Please skip right ahead if you are already familiar.)

Following a response of near-universal disgust, the Commission pulled the video from its site, and soon announced a contest to replace the atrocity. They recently announced the winners, and they are -- not surprisingly -- a marked improvement.

Two winners were selected by a jury panel. The first, from a French team, is a lovely, concise explanation of the real reasons it's important to have more women in the sciences:

The second, from an Australian team, takes a more, shall we say, pandering approach, showing young women just having a grand old time in the lab! No more dreadful office work if you become a scientist! This is something we all know is true. Nevertheless, the message that science is a fun and even joyful pursuit is a wonderful contrast to the common stereotypes.

Additionally, a sort of viewer's choice runners-up was selected, and that went to this earnest, charming video from a team of Americans.

In an interview with freelance science writer Alexander Brown, Flora Vincent of the French team was asked how the team felt upon winning. She responded, "Our first reaction was joy of course!!!"

Of course! And rightly so. Their video is awesome -- a perfect rebuke to anyone who thinks that it is lipstick and hydrogen (?!?!) that make science "a girl thing."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/12/after-complete-fail-the-european-commission-finds-some-way-better-videos-to-promote-women-in-science/266390/