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Important STEM female characters in movies

"S.T.E.M." stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. An academic field where women are quite rare because of its sexism. Same storie in movies : only a few motion pictures feature women in roles like scientist, technician, engineer, mathematician, researcher, inventor...

Generally, there is a huge lack of STEM characters... of STEM women to be more precise. This is a issue because as such, girls don't have references, models to be inspired by, and many teenage girls stop studying STEM's or quit because of the harassment and this lack of representation.

This webpage lists significant roles and focuses on the character, her speciality and her skills, not on the story of the film or its director. Only roles in films (Cinema), not TV series, TV movies, etc. Short url: http://sn.im/stemfilms .

Lead role

When the character is actually working in STEM's and SHE is the hero of the film.

  • Lindsey BRIGMAN (Mary Elizabeth MASTRANTONIO) in The Abyss (1989). Designer/engineer.
  • Sabine (Julie DELARME) in C'est la tangente que je préfère (1997). High school student gifted at- & keen on mathematics.
  • Doctor Eleanor 'Ellie' ARROWAY (Jodie FOSTER) in Contact (1997). SETI scientist, radio astronomer. Adapt from a novel.
  • Catherine DEANE (Jennifer LOPEZ) in The Cell (2000). Child psychologist. Latina (hispanic actress).
  • Doctor Laura Portmann (Anna Katharina SCHWABROH) in Cargo (2009). unidentified speciality.
  • Elizabeth SHAW (Noomi RAPACE) in Prometheus (2012). Archaeologist.
  • Doctor Ryan STONE (Sandra BULLOCK) in Gravity (2013). Medical engineer.
  • Cassie SINCLAIR (Courtney HOPE) in Displacement (2016). Physics student.
  • [character's name still unkonw] (Naomi WATTS) in Shut In (2016). Child psychologist.
  • Katherine JOHNSON (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy VAUGHAN (Octavia Spencer) and Mary JACKSON (Janelle Monáe) in Hidden Figures (2016). Physicist and mathematician ; mathematician ; mathematician and aerospace engineer.
  • Doctor Louise BANKS (Amy Adams) in Arrival (2016). Linguist & Professor.

Co-lead role

When the film is based on a duet of actresses. Or when the primary role is a man and the secondary is a woman AND she is a scientist/engineer/etc.

  • Doctor Ellie SATTLER (Laura Dern) in Jurassik Park (1993). Paleobotanist.
  • Doctor Jo HARDLING (Helen HUNT) in Twister (1996). Meteorologist.
  • Doctor Amy BARNES (Anne HECHE) in Volcano (1997). Geologist.
  • Hermione GRANGER (Emma WATSON) in the Harry Potter franchise (2001-2011). Studious, very academic student, incl. in Potions (chemistry), born Muggle (not-Magic folk). Movies adapted from the novel series by JK ROWLING. NB: it's very hard to precisely rank her role as #2 or #3 in the franchise (in general), and it's based on Harry (#1) then his two best friends Hermione and Ronald Weasley.
  • Helen BENSON (Jennifer CONNELLY) in The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008). Astrobiologist. Remake of the 1951's motion picture.
  • Lisbeth SALANDER (Noomi RAPACE) in the Swedish 2009 Millennium trilogy (Män som hatar kvinnor, Flickan som lekte med elden, Luftslottet som sprängdes). Computer hacker. Adapted from a novel series.
  • Lisbeth SALANDER (Rooney MARA) in the Hollywood 2011 film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Computer hacker. Adapted from a novel series.
  • Allison STONE (Sarah Wayne CALLIES) in Into The Storm (2014). Meteorologist.
  • Jane (Sarah SNOOK) in Predestination (2014). Girl, teen then woman fond of- & skilled at Maths & Biology.
  • Doctor Amelia BRAND (Anne HATHAWAY) in Interstellar (2014). Biotechnologist and Astronaut.
  • Casey NEWTON (Britt ROBERTSON) in Tomorrowland (2015). Not actually a worker, but a bright mind, teen woman who is fond of technology & science.

Secondary role

When the role is... unfortunately, secondary, like often in movies: supporting... the male hero. :/

  • Doctor Jaye CALDER (Jacqueline KIM) in Volcano (1997). Doctor (physician). Asian woman.
  • Doctor Christmas JONES (Denise RICHARDS) in The World Is Not Enough (1999). Nuclear Physicist. 19th Bond movie.
  • Trinity (Carrie-Anne MOSS) in The Matrix trilogy (1999-2003). Computer programmer & black hat hacker.
  • Doctor GORDON (Viola DAVIS) in Solaris (2002). Astronaut and... (?). Black actress.
  • Mai LINH (Maggie Q) in Live Free or Die Hard (2007). Computer hacker/Cyber-terrorist. Aka Die hard 4. Asiatic actress.
  • Doctor Grace AUGUSTINE (Sigourney WEAVER) in Avatar (2009). Xenobotanist.
  • Ariadne (Ellen PAGE) in Inception (2010). Architect (of physical labyrinths in dreams).
  • Karen (Brit MARLING) in I Origins (2014). Laboratory partner (?).
  • Doctor Lucy HALL (Sela WARD) in The Day After Tomorrow (2004). some scientist (?!).
  • Honey LEMON (voice by Genesis RODRIGUEZ) in Big Hero 6 (2014). Chemical engineering student. White character, latinas actress.
  • Doctor Vivienne GRAHAM (Sally HAWKINS) in Godzilla (2014). Scientist....
  • Doctor Harleen Quinzel aka Harley Quinn (Margot ROBBIE) in Suicide Squad (2016). Psychiatrist.

Intersectionality

So far... almost ZERO... is you consider only lead roles and co-lead roles. As a reminder, intersectionality is when you stand at the intersection of several minorities or discriminations: asian woman, worker-class intersexed person assigned boy, muslim transwoman, ginger handicaped migrant man, left-handed lesbian teen girl, overweight asexual man...

In this list, ALMOST EVERY lead- and co-lead roles are WHITE women (or at least portrayed by white actresses) generally mid- or upper-class, presumed cisgendered, presumed heterosexual.

notes

to be confirmed

  • a scientist in "Earthquake 10.0" just like several other b-series/low-budget disaster films

Back to basic list by sexualization.

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Page mise à jour le 12 02 2017 à 08h14