Girls as young as six believe brilliance is a male trait
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New research into gender stereotypes has shown that the idea of possessing the trait of ‘brilliance’ or ‘giftedness’ is something more common in males, with children as young as six years old being influenced by gendered stereotypes. It is hoped that the study will help to improve the prevention of stereotypes affecting the future career choices of women, with previous research indicating that ‘brilliance’ being identified as the key to success affecting the number of women in mathematic and physics-related fields. The study was carried out in the US by researchers from three universities testing 400 children, to discover just how influential these gender stereotypes are on a child’s concept of capability and intelligence. The first test consisted of a group of 96 boys and girls aged between five and seven, each being read a story about a highly intelligent person and asked to identify the protagonist’s gender. They were then presented with several images of couples, both hetero and homosexual, and asked to pick which of the couples were the highly intelligent ones. The children were then asked, as the final test, to give certain objects presented to them certain traits, an example of “being smart” matched with pictures of either men or women.
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