Girls as young a 6 think they aren’t as brilliant as boys

  • Study also found at the age of five, there is no difference between the sexes
  • The researchers think these stereotypes have a knock-on effect into adulthood 
  • By only their second year of school, girls are more likely than boys to shy away from activities for ‘really, really clever’ children 

Girls as young as six already believe they cannot be as ‘brilliant’ as boys, a study has found.

By only their second year of school, girls are more likely than boys to shy away from activities for ‘really, really clever’ children.

But just a year earlier, at the age of five, there is no difference between the sexes.

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Girls as young as six already believe they cannot be as ‘brilliant’ as boys, a study has found. By only their second year of school, girls are more likely than boys to shy away from activities for ‘really, really clever’ children (stock image) 

GENDER STEREOTYPES 

Girls as young as six are less likely to associate ‘brilliance’ with their own gender.

The researchers think these stereotypes have a knock-on effect into adulthood. 

‘In earlier work, we found that adult women were less likely to receive higher degrees in fields thought to require “brilliance,” and these new findings show that these stereotypes begin to impact girls’ choices at a heartbreakingly young age,’ said Professor Sarah-Jane Leslie, from Princeton University. 

The study, by researchers at New York University, the University of Illinois, and Princeton University, found from the age of six, girls are taught by society to associate men with being smarter.

‘Even though the stereotype equating brilliance with men doesn’t match reality, it might nonetheless take a toll on girls’ aspirations and on their eventual careers,’ said Professor Andrew Cimpian, senior author of the paper, published in Science.

In one experiment, the children heard a story about a person described as ‘really, really smart’ .

They were then asked to guess which of four adults, two men and two women, the story was about.

Another test asked the children to pick, out of pairs of men and women, which one was ‘really really smart’. 

Both boys and girls aged five tended to pick their own gender.

But girls aged six and seven were much less likely than boys to associate brilliance with their gender

‘Our society tends to associate brilliance with men more than with women, and this notion pushes women away from jobs that are perceived to require brilliance,’ said Lin Bian, from the University of Illinois. 

‘We wanted to know whether young children also endorse these stereotypes.’


The study, by researchers at New York University, the University of Illinois, and Princeton University, found from the age of six, girls are taught by society to associate men with being smarter (stock image) 

The researchers wanted to test whether the children applied the stereotypes to themselves, so they asked the kids to gauge their interests in two different games.

One of the games was for children who are ‘really, really smart’ and another was for those who ‘try really, really hard’.

The girls were much less interested in the game for the smart children than boys, while both genders were equally interested in the hard-working game.

The researchers think these stereotypes have a knock-on effect into adulthood. 

‘In earlier work, we found that adult women were less likely to receive higher degrees in fields thought to require “brilliance,” and these new findings show that these stereotypes begin to impact girls’ choices at a heartbreakingly young age,’ said Professor Sarah-Jane Leslie, from Princeton University.






Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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