TV drama needs to do more to show women in positive and powerful roles, a new government report claimed.
The Women and Work Commission study claims that schoolgirls' career choices are hugely influenced by TV and adverts.
It cited research that showed how BBC1 drama Silent Witness - whose star is a female forensic scientist Sam Ryan (played by Amanda Burton) - had significantly contributed to an increase in women taking science-based degrees. Two-thirds of about 3,000 students on forensic science courses in the UK last year were female, it noted.
The report called for programme-makers to do more to encourage non-stereotypical portrayals of women at work to encourage girls to study for careers traditionally held by men. It added more must also be done to portray men as "parents and carers".
The commission, chaired by labour peer Baroness Prosser, called for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to set up groups of advertisers and key players in television drama, to tackle the issue.