The documentary “Não Pareço Cientista” tells the trajectory of four prominent women in science who faced difficulties in the area because they did not correspond to the stereotype of scientist.
Created by 3M in conjunction with Generous Films and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the production is just under 32 minutes and is available with Portuguese subtitles on the 3M Curiosity Blog.
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According to the company, the documentary seeks to highlight the need for diversity and equity in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, also called by the acronym in English STEM.
59% of respondents to the State of Science Index survey, conducted by 3M in 2021, say they believe that girls and women are more discouraged from pursuing STEM education than boys and men.
Directed by Julio Palacio and produced by Christine Arena, the documentary was originally named “Not the Science Type” and premiered in June 2021 at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Preparing the next generation of scientists
The documentary “Não Pareço Cientista” narrates the stories of Gitanjali Rao, elected “Child of the Year” for 2020 by TIME magazine; Ciara Sivels, first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan; Jessica Taaffe, a global health scientist who has done projects for WHO and the World Bank; and Jayshree Seth, 3M Global Science Ambassador with 72 patents to her name.
They don’t fit the stereotype of scientist, who in Jessica Taaffe’s words are often seen as “male, boring, undressed, and weird.” The scientist reports that she avoided wearing red lipstick to fit in: “I felt I had to soften my personality to be respected.”
It was only later that Taaffe realized that there were people like her in science, and this is the insight that Ciara Sivels seeks to convey today. As a black woman, she wants to open doors. “We are trying to create a narrative and community to show the next generation of STEM leaders that this is possible and fun.”
Jayshree Seth seeks to show the next generation that diversity is not only possible, it is essential to science. “We need every idea, every diverse perspective to solve problems. Science needs you to be you.”