A new study shows that books can change children’s views on gender stereotypes. ‹ Literary Center

August 16, 2022, 10:34 a.m.

Now, in things that probably didn’t really need to be proven: A group of psychology researchers found that reading books to children in which female characters excel in math and science helps dismantle stereotypes sexist.

According to Bob Yirka of Phys.org:

The experiment involved reading books to children aged 6 to 11 and then asking them to take a test measuring gender-based stereotypical thinking. In all, the researchers read to more than 300 children. The researchers used three different books: the first involved a young male character performing in mathematics; the second involved a young female character performing well in mathematics; and the third was intended to be neutral, involving characters of both sexes who were interested in various sports.

The test given to each child, after listening to one of the three books, involved sorting mathematical and implied terms into categories based on gender. Children were also asked to answer more direct questions, such as how much did they like doing math problems.

Not surprisingly, children who read the book with the math-loving female character, regardless of gender, “tended to have fewer gender stereotypes about women and their interest in and ability to work with math.”

Just another reminder that the books you read to your kids matter!

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