YouTube has become the primary website for videos online, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is one of the most popular topics. But there is a conspicuous absence of STEM YouTube channels hosted by women.
To explore this gap and its causes, Master of Science Communication student Inoka Amarasekara and Dr Will Grant conducted analysis on popularity indicators and audience sentiments of 450 videos from 90 STEM-related channels.
They found that on average, STEM channels hosted by women received more comments per view — with significantly higher proportions of appearance, hostile, critical/negative and sexist/sexual commentary.
"The results of this study reveal that gender does affect the reception of and interaction with STEM videos and channels on YouTube.
"In all this, it is hoped that research can uncover factors that those traditionally marginalised from STEM careers can use to assist in bringing new and diverse STEM communicators to YouTube and other online and popular media, and in turn to the wider STEM community."