‘It Is Time to Operate Like a Woman’: A Corpus Based Study of Representation of Women in STEM Fields in Social Media

  •  Reem Alkhammash    


This study explores the discourse of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or medicine (STEM) fields produced by Twitter users on social media, with a particular focus on language usage and function in this discourse. The exploration of the women in STEM discourse was achieved by collecting a body of tweets using popular hashtags addressing women in STEM from the last week of October 2017. Following a corpus-based approach, this study analyzes the most frequent evaluative adjectives and 4-grams. Results from the analysis of evaluative adjectives show that Twitter users represent women in STEM fields positively by using positive adjectives such as great, amazing, inspirational etc. Furthermore, the analysis of the most frequent 4-grams reveals that Twitter users employ hashtags such as #ilooklikeasurgeon and #womeninSTEM to promote the work of women in STEM fields, show their appreciation of women working and studying in STEM and challenge prevalent gender stereotypes of STEM professions. It was found that the production of women in STEM discourse by most Twitter users has contributed to increasing the strength of women in the STEM community in social media, evidenced by their practices of advocacy, networking and challenging gender biases online. The discourse of women in STEM in social media is an example of discursive activism that focuses on the larger dialogue of women in STEM and highlights dominant forms of sexism and gendered stereotypes of women’s work in male dominated professions.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

Journal Metrics

Google-based Impact Factor (2021): 1.43

h-index (July 2022): 45

i10-index (July 2022): 283

h5-index (2017-2021): 25

h5-median (2017-2021): 37

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