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Teen Girls Want to Be Models, Not Scientists

Just to confirm that teenage girls were mostly uninterested in developing careers in science, the New Outlooks in Science & Engineering group (NOISE) ran a survey asking the 13- to 18-year-old demographic about their ideal careers. Just four percent selected engineer as their career of choice, 14 percent opted for a career in science, and 32 percent have their hopes on a career in modeling.

While these results aren't particularly shocking, it's interesting to note that 35 percent of the girls aren't attracted to careers in science and engineering because they don't know enough about the opportunities in these areas. NOISE is working to get girls more interested in math and science by allowing them to shadow scientists at work, and hopes to influence the media to portray the field in a more positive light.

Did you ever consider a career in science growing up? Do you think there was enough exposure to the possibilities in the field when you were in school?


Join The Conversation
lickety-split lickety-split 6 years
my husband is an electrical engineer, has an MBA and his own business. we have 3 daughters. guess how many want to be engineers? guess how many want to do beauty pageants? little girls like fairies and princesses and dress up. doesn't mean they won't change their mind later. all you can do is continue to expose them to math and science and encourage them. they are who they are.
poizenisxkandee poizenisxkandee 8 years
i didnt say it wasnt a career, quite the opposite. i do have a hair stylist and i bring in a lot of $$ to beauty supply stores and cosmetic counters everywhere, and sephora; and wanted to actually take part time classes at a cosmetology school and would probably do very well...but engineering school takes a lot of time. i simply said it wasnt the career for ME personally. i definitely know i need those whove made it THEIR career. i just want to do something else.
austerity austerity 8 years guys, it's true that the fashion/beauty industry is quite superficial, but let's not demean those who work in it. All superficial ANTM shows aside, beautification is an art in its own right. It may not be the career for you, but it's not fair to say it's NOT a career; there are people out there who take it seriously. All professions have their dignity in their own way. Could you imagine if makeup, cleansers, spas etc. stopped existing? Well, that's exactly what would happen if the jobs in that industry wouldn't exist.
cupcakers cupcakers 8 years
I wish I was more informed on careers in science when I was younger. In high school I was interested in journalism and working for a fashion magazine, then going to college I realized I may not want to go into Journalism. Now I'm a senior in college and am doing Cultural Studies, yet I am still unsure about this degree. A big part of me want to go into pharmacy but I am very weak in science and wish I had taken more science course in high school and early on in college, but now I feel like it's pointless *sigh* so I wish I could go back a few years and change things. But something like NOISE is really important for teenagers, I just wish I had more exposure to science back then.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
"...I'm a microbiologist and our whole department is made up of women. Actually, I think most of the other departments in our lab are made up of mostly women as well." That sounds like me Spectra! :) I'm a microbiologist, the majority of people in our company are women as well. I've always wanted to be a scientist of some sort, I just wasn't sure what. I went to an elementary school that had a pretty strong emphasis on science (we'd dedicate an entire week each year to the ocean ecosystems). Things I wanted to be: Veterinarian Marine Biologist Game Warden (ok this is a little out of left field, but I saw Gorillas in the Mist and I really wanted to save the Gorillas) Medical Examiner But when I started to take microbiology classes in college, I knew that's what I was meant to do.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
oh geez. my only goal in life at 17 was to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Now I'm an organic chemist. They'll be fine.
ally14 ally14 8 years
Well I wanted to be a singer but as I grew up i decided to be a doctor. It was really not my friends who helped me make the decision ( probably 8/10 of my friends wanted to be models actually...) but my family who instilled good moral sense in me! good thing i followed through. i don't know any succesful models who i went to school with but i do know a lot of girls who should've made better choices!
piecrumz piecrumz 8 years
I'm seventeen, and I find the results of this study to be somewhat inaccurate or misleading. Sure, I've always been fascinated with makeup and fashion, but never -- and I mean never -- did it cross my mind that it would ever be possible to make a living out of superficial vanity. When I was younger, I wanted to be a veterinarian, and wanted to go into medicine/surgery up until a couple of years ago. I'm realizing now that I'm better suited towards a career in law (since I'm a major English nerd -- and proud of it :) ) but I remember being astonished that my classmates wanted to be rockstars or cheerleaders or yep, models when they "grew up". I've always been very grounded and practical; maybe it's my upbringing or maybe it's just that I'm very self motivated, but I want to make a difference with my life. I want to be remembered for something beyond my looks. I do have to agree that science and math are definitely fields that most girls my age don't look into -- and to be frank, aren't encouraged to look into. I was in AP Physics B last year, and out of a class of thirty-five students, I was one of six girls. It was arguably the most difficult class I've taken thus far, and the teacher by no means attempted to help any -- and would, on top of that, constantly make derogatory jokes about our supposed intelligence (and how it was lesser than that of all the testosterone floating around in the room). Math and science have never really been my strongest suits, but we're really not encouraged to pursue careers in those disciplines, in my experience, as much as we're encouraged to study English or teaching or interior design. Yet then we continue to wonder why women make only 76 cents for every dollar a man does -- and this is the twenty-first century, no less.
LadyLiLa83 LadyLiLa83 8 years
Most girls don't care about science at that age. Hell, I'm 25 and I STILL don't care about science.
GiGiG GiGiG 8 years
How do you become an asset manager? I think I want to switch careers :).
GiGiG GiGiG 8 years
Seriously? I wanted to be a lawyer. Ironically, while in college (studying Computer Information Systems), a model scout approached me. Voila! Spending money while in school. Actually, a few of the girls that modeled with me (we obviously weren't serious about modeling, or we would have dropped out of school), were getting pretty hard degrees. One of the models is now a lawyer. One is currently getting her MBA. Two of my friends are modeling again--one of them was laid off from her job as an electrical engineer. I really think it is how you are brought up, what values are instilled in you, that helps determine your aspirations at that age. True, you're shallow at that age; but I never thought I was good looking enough or tall enough to model at that age. My parents, to this day, have never told me I'm beautiful--I don't think anything is wrong with that, it's just not the way they were brought up. Because of this, I could say maybe it's parents' fault for placing unrealistic dreams in their children's heads, or actually, isn't that the American dream? I just wished the American dream placed less emphasis and value on physical appearance.
runnergeek runnergeek 8 years
i agree with looseseal..alot of people at that age aren't practical. it is the parents responsibility to make sure that their kids ARE practical..this is the real world, not la la land. being a model works for about 1% of the population. I am in the process of hiring into my company..we are looking for an experienced Oracle DBA..and i have gotten exactly ONE resume from a woman. ONE. not good.
LoveSarah LoveSarah 8 years
UGH. I hate math and science. Those were my two worst subjects. So no, I never thought about, or would want to be a scientist.
rabidmoon rabidmoon 8 years
When I was that age I wanted to be an astronomer. :P I think there is a greater awareness of modeling and fashion industries for teens now than there was 20 years ago - I mean, we all knew about the "supermodels" but we hardly had so many fashion-oriented shows, nobody prattled off names of series winners. Also, the 80s models were definitely pre-grunge and were represented by some fairly strong and shapely women like Veronica Webb and Vendela...body image has always been important but it feels different now for some reason. I think pop culture and music's impact on fashion (and fashion's on music) has driven this awareness of body and being appreciated for looks even more. (I mean, as a kid we never CARED really what AC-DC looked like. We just wanted to listen to them, if that makes sense. :P) I don't know, maybe its just me but in some ways the girls around 10-18 seem to be slipping backwards in terms of valuing their strengths beyond appearance, instead of forwards. I hope I am wrong.
stargazer25 stargazer25 8 years
What do you expect with shows on TV called "American's Top Model" and no shows like "America's Top Scientist?"
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
I gave up wanting to be a model in the 5th grade, when I realized I wasn't going to be tall. I wanted to be a dentist through middle school, then a nurse, now I'm considering business.
austerity austerity 8 years
oh and..I was talking about the tech science jobs in particular, I know medical/bio jobs usually have a lot of women :)
austerity austerity 8 years
I think another reason why girls of any age might not want to pursue science careers is because it tends to be filled with know-it-all guys who assume that because you are a woman, you are technically stupid. If you're beautiful, it's even worse. I don't know whether it's just their sheer ignorance or some inner resentment of people who happen to be blessed with both beauty & brains. But to all girls in science: hail! :) You go girl, and make us women look good!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
When I was in high school, I was a bit of an ugly duckling, so I never even considered modeling as a career option. I always knew I wanted to be a scientist, although now that I look back on things, I should have decided to go for an engineering degree. My husband's a mechanical engineer and he's told me that any woman who decides to be an engineer will probably not have too many problems finding a job. Most engineering firms are very interested in hiring women. Coincidentally, I think women make better scientists than men do...I'm a microbiologist and our whole department is made up of women. Actually, I think most of the other departments in our lab are made up of mostly women as well.
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 8 years
Science was never my thing. I did briefly want to be a vet.
facin8me facin8me 8 years
20% of the girls surveyed also wanted to be a doctor- I think that's encouraging. The girls were able to name more than one I'm sure that many of them put several things- model, lawyer, doctor- whatever. I'm not saying that we don't need to work to get girls more interested in science, I just think the situation isn't as dire as the numbers suggest. I think it's important though that younger scientists are trying to bring teenage girls into the fold. My husband and I have volunteered in junior highs to show 7th and 8th graders that scientists aren't just a bunch of crotchety old people- that scientists can be young, fashionable, and social. We've also talked to kids about all the different careers you can get involved with if you have a higher education in a scientific field. It makes a huge difference for these kids to hear options and you can actually see them getting excited about the possibilities.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
I recall that everything before and during high school was highly superficial. Hell, at one point i wanted to be a lifeguard/ model. See? :P
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Why would anyone want to be a model? I just don't understand that.
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