Misogyny in Science Illustration Infographic






While working at a science communication agency that frequently used stock illustrations for various projects, it became apparent to me that male scientists were almost always illustrated wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), but not female scientists — even if they were in the same illustration together.

This was a passion project that was designed to bring awareness and educate other designers and illustrators on why this pattern of sexualizing female scientists is problematic.

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Final Deliverable

As the infographic was created for Instagram, it is presented in a 10-image carousel format. I used this carousel approach to tell a story, present the data, and provide some key takeaways in the most succinct way possible to keep the readers attention and provide actionable items after identifying this issue.

A red title card displays the title, Misogyny in Science Illustration. A stock image of female and male scientists is displayed with the following text; Do you see anything wrong with this stock illustration of scientists? One gender is wearing appropriate personal protective equipment that adheres to lab safety guidelines, and one gender is not (in addition to a lack of diversity in race, body type, ability). This misrepresentation of female scientists is so prevalent in stock illustrations that I decided to collect some data. I searched the term "scientist" within Illustrations on 3 popular stock sites (istock, Shutterstock, Getty), sorted by Most Popular, and assessed the first 3 images that include at least one scientist from head to toe. Of the 90 images I reviewed, they contained 244 men and 190 women. Men defined by typical masculine presenting and male-associated attributes such as broad shoulders, facial hair, very short hair, tall height. Women defined by typical feminine presenting and female-associated attributes such as breasts, small waist and large hips, long hair, short height. There were less than 10 gender neutral/non-binary presenting illustrations. They were not included in the data collection. 77& of women had exposed ankles, 54% of women had exposed legs, 20% of men had exposed ankles, all men were illustrated wearing pants. 25% of women were wearing open top shoes. 21% of women were wearing high heels. All men were illustrated wearing a shoe that adheres to lab safety guidelines. 18% of women wore a tight, form-fitting lab coat. All men were illustrated with a proper fitting lab coat. 38% of women had long hair, not tied up. All men were illustrated with short hair that adheres to lab safety guidelines. What can you do? Stop producing and/or using illustrations that sexualize female scientists. All scientists should be illustrated in appropriate PPE regardless of gender. Diversify your illustrations — all genders, all races, larger bodies, disabilities, etc. Research the subject matter to ensure an accurate and inclusive representation.