Today in things that probably didn’t really need to be proven: a group of psychology researchers has found that reading books to children in which female characters excel in math and science helps dismantle gender-based stereotypes.
According to Bob Yirka of Phys.org:
The experiment consisted of reading books to children between the ages of 6 and 11 and then asking them to take a test that measured gender-based stereotypical thinking. In all, the researchers read to over 300 children. The researchers used three different books: the first involved a young male character performing well in math; the second involved a young female character performing well in math; and the third was meant to be neutral, involving characters of either gender who were interested in various sports.
The testing given to each child, after they listened to one of the three books, involved sorting math and implicit terms into gender-based categories. The children were also asked to answer more direct questions, such as how much did they like doing math problems.
Unsurprisingly, the children who had been read the book with the female character who loved math, regardless of their own gender, “tended to hold less gendered stereotypes regarding women and their interest and ability to work with math.”
Just another reminder that the books you read to your children matter!