Gender stereotypes about scientists have improved study says

Wiley Online – A new study sheds light on what we hoped was true about visions of women in science, well mostly. The study shows that a shift has occurred with regard to perceptions of the gender of scientists.

Scatter plot provided by Nature. Source material : Miller, D. I., Nolla, K. M., Eagly, A. H. & Uttal, D. H. Child Development doi:10.1111/cdev.13039 (2018).

In the 70’s, about 1 in 100 children considered females in science.  Now, that has whittled down to 1 and 3. As children age however, those perceptions appear to shift even more toward perceptions of men as scientists.

A female chemist drawn by a girl aged 11. Credit: Vasilia Christidou. Found at Nature


My Opinion: With regard to the age disparity, societal reflections and personal experiences may be what changes this perception as kid’s shows are not watched by older kids which may feature female and other diverse scientists. I am also curious as to what the data shows about race perceptions of scientists even among schools dominated with minority students. Without any teacher prodding or suggestions, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some reflections of color in the student’s works but there would undoubtedly be more white or equal amount of white scientists illustrated.

We have come a long way in our perceptions of who does science, but the public is still in dire need of understanding and accepting science.

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