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U.S. Children Now Draw Female Scientists More Than Ever

A child's drawing of a scientist.

An analysis of five decades of "Draw-a-Scientist" studies found that U.S. children depict scientists as female now more than ever.

Credit: Vasilia Christidou

Researchers at Northwestern University have analyzed five decades of "Draw-a-Scientist" studies conducted since the 1960s, and found U.S. children now depict scientists as female more than ever.

They say this trend suggests children's stereotypes connecting science only with men have weakened over time, which is consistent with more women becoming scientists and children's media depicting more female scientists on TV shows, magazines, and elsewhere.

The Northwestern study is the first systematic, quantitative review of the "Draw-a-Scientist" literature and combined results from 78 U.S. studies, including more than 20,000 children in kindergarten through 12th grades.

The researchers also analyzed how children form stereotypes about scientists across childhood development, with the results suggesting children do not associate science with men until about age five. The researchers also found during elementary and middle school, the tendency to draw scientists as male rose strongly with age.

From Northwestern University Newscenter
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