More than 50 years ago, researchers made a simple experiment. They asked more than 5,000 children to draw a scientist. They did not provide any other details like the sex, age, or the appearance of the scientist. When the children were done, researchers observed that only 28 kids drew female scientists. The results of this study were published in 1983.
But How Are Things Now?
Over the years, many other researchers tried the same study to see if anything changed. Now, a team of researchers looked at more than 70 of these studies. They focused on children from the US, and it appears that nowadays more children draw female scientists. Researchers mentioned that this change might have been caused by the fact that more female scientists appear in the media.
No matter the reason, this research shows that children’s stereotypes have changed. Between 1985 and 2017, the number of participants increased to 21,000. From these, more than 28% drew female scientists. Compared to boys, girls were more likely to draw women as scientists. More than 42% drew a female scientist and only 5% of boys did.
Good News for the Generations Today
Researchers mentioned that for both genders the number increased which is great news. This means that people are letting go of their stereotypes and teach children that women can have the same jobs as men. Another important finding was based on the age of the children. Kids before the age of 6 drew female and male scientists equally.
Once they reached elementary school, the number had changed. Fewer kids older than 6 drew women scientists. Researchers mentioned that it is important to stop the stereotypes before they develop in order for girls to understand that they can also become doctors, scientists, or researchers. Finally, boys also need to learn that they can choose any job they like, not one that fits a typically heteronormative society.