‘3 Body Problem’ Showcases Importance of Female Representation in STEM

While the entertainment industry has featured numerous male scientists, technicians, engineers, and mathematicians (STEM), female representation in these roles has been lacking. However, Netflix’s “3 Body Problem” has taken a stand against this gender disparity and achieved great success.

Since its release in March, “3 Body Problem” has accumulated over 3 billion minutes of watch time and has remained in Netflix’s Global Top 10 for seven weeks. The show, based on Liu Cixin’s book “The Three-Body Problem,” made a significant change by introducing strong female characters like Jin Cheng (Jess Hong) and Auggie Salazar (Eiza González). This decision has diversified the storyline from the original male-centric narrative, showcasing the potential for greater representation of women in STEM fields.

The Geena Davis Institute’s report, “Portray Her 2.0: An Analysis of 15 Years of Women in STEM On-Screen,” highlighted the lack of female representation in STEM roles in the entertainment industry. Only 38% of STEM characters on screen were women from 2018–2022, with even fewer in lead roles, particularly women of color. This underrepresentation underscores the importance of showcasing diverse STEM characters to inspire audiences, especially women and girls, to pursue similar paths.

The positive response from female scientists to the portrayal of women in STEM roles in “3 Body Problem” emphasizes the impact of on-screen representation. By featuring intelligent and relatable female characters, the show has shattered stereotypes and provided a platform for women to see themselves in STEM careers.

Netflix’s success with “3 Body Problem” proves that investing in stories with strong female leads in STEM can be commercially viable and resonates with audiences. This challenges the misconception that narratives centered around women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics have limited appeal. The show’s triumph in commanding viewership and recognition showcases the need for more representation of women in STEM on both the big and small screen.