Exploration of Girls’ Role Models: Are there Female STEM Role Models in Sight?





women in STEM, role model, career choice, inspiration


This study explores the presence and impact of female role models in Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) education due to the underrepresentation of girls in STEM fields. The objective is to assess girls’ role models, particularly the role they play in their interest and in a career choice in STEM.A survey was distributed through an online panel and 546 valid answers from girls aged 14-20 in Germany were received. The analysis links to social cognitive theory and revealed that immediate family members (50,1%), musicians, actors and artists (12,4%), and media influencers (9,6%) were the top role model categories. Male role models dominated in teachers, entrepreneurs, and friends, while female role models were prominent in the family category. Female scientists and entrepreneurs who could serve as STEM role models, were found to be underrepresented. The study also showed that girls with STEM occupational role models in their immediate surroundings were more likely to have an interest in STEM subjects.

Author Biography

Claudia Hess, IU International University of Applied Sciences

Prof. Dr. Claudia Hess is a professor of Digital Transformation at IU International University of Applied Sciences. Besides teaching and research, she is also working in industry. As a consultant and project manager, she supports companies in digitalisation projects and accompanies teams in the agile development of new, digital products and services.