Depictions of Women in STEM: Zoey Clarke

August 24, 2020

Written by: Alicen Ricard

Spoilers for Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is a show that centers on Zoey Clarke, a woman in STEM who can also hear people’s feelings through song. This can come in handy sometimes, especially when she hears her coworkers’ thoughts on her promotion. She is a valuable software engineer for the company. 

Zoey was always into technology. When she was five she took apart her parents’ broken VCR and put it back together to fix it. She is also ambitious and hardworking but has problems with being assertive. She worked as a software engineer at SPRQ Point for five years before getting promoted to engineering manager. 

Zoey definitely encounters some microaggressions from all her male coworkers. They seem happy enough for her, but because she can hear their thoughts through song, she could hear that one coworker in particular thought that he deserved the promotion and that she wasn’t good enough because she is a girl. It took a while for them to accept her as a superior, but as the show’s season went on they grow to respect her as she became more assertive and showed how good she is at her job. She had to work hard to get there, she listened to plenty of podcasts on how to be a good manager. She also has Joan, her boss as an example of a confident woman who is a manager. 

The team Zoey managed on the fourth floor got pulled into a competition with the sixth floor, run by Ava. She has to lead her team into developing an app faster than the sixth floor and she is really able to show off her leadership skills. The competition ends up being forefitted when Joan and Ava realize that as two women in tech they should not pit their floors against each other. 


The former Obama Administration's White House fact sheet lists 3 goals for fictional representation of women in STEM. We are noticing a trend in the movies and television shows we have reviewed - they meet some of the following goals better than others.

1.  Include diverse STEM role models (past and present): Most of SPRQ Point is made up by men, but there are three woman, all of which are in management and one of which is a woman of colour. This show does meet the goal

2. Highlight the breadth of STEM careers and social impacts: A couple different careers from this tech company are shown from software engineer to management. They also show how the apps they are creating could change lives. The show does meet this goal. 

3.  Debunk STEM stigmas and misconceptions: There are a lot of stereotypes in the show and they also tried to pit the women characters against each other. This show does not meet this goal. 

Let us know if you have a manager you can look up to.