Since she was a young girl, Ginger Zee enjoyed observing the weather. “I always loved science and math, and I loved watching storms come across Lake Michigan,” she recalls. Today, Zee transformed that early fascination into a career as ABC News’ chief meteorologist and is using her influence to kill the phrase “weather girls.”

No more “weather girls”

“I did not study dynamics, thermodynamics, intense physics, differential equations and linear algebra after Calc III to be called a ‘weather girl’ – I am a scientist,” she continues. “Female lawyers would never be called ‘law girls.’ Female doctors, never ‘doctor girls.’ Female meteorologists are just meteorologists.”

Professionals across the industry are echoing Zee’s sentiments. Stephanie Abrams, co-host of the Weather Channel's “America’s Morning Headquarters,” adds that the misconceptions about women in weather can lead to damaging stereotypes.

“Some people assume that I just read from a teleprompter,” Abrams laughs. “I call myself a meteorologist because I worked very hard for that degree. Call me what I am.”

“I call myself a meteorologist because I worked very hard for that degree. Call me what I am.”

Damaging stereotypes

A 2016 study by the American Meteorological Society found that while women occupied 29 percent of all weathercaster positions in the U.S., a whopping 92 percent of chief meteorologist positions were held by men. Female participation, or lack thereof, in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has been a hot-button topic for years. NBC News meteorologist Dylan Dreyer traces these trends back to the classroom.

“I had previously taken a bunch of engineering classes and there were very few females,” Dreyer shares. “I was one of only two in my graduating class.”

Zee, Abrams and Dreyer believe that as the perception of women in science evolves, more young girls will consider careers in science. Dreyer’s advice for young women hoping to break into a male-dominated industry? “Whatever you’re good at, you should put your whole heart into it. Excel in whatever it is that makes you happy.” 

“I think we need to keep encouraging girls to explore all subjects and avoid gender stereotyping,” Zee elaborates. “I am incredibly hopeful for the future. I know our society and world evolves and it can in the way of accepting female scientists.”