But gender stereotypes begin to take hold in preteen years
Courtesy of Richard Jones and Lori Fulton/Univ. of Hawaii Manoa
Ask a classroom of children to draw a scientist, and you’ll see plenty of Crayola-colored lab coats, goggles and bubbling beakers. That image hasn’t changed much since the 1960s. But the person wearing the lab coat is shifting.
A new analysis finds that more female scientists have appeared in kids’ drawings in recent decades — going from nearly nonexistent in the 1960s to about a third in 2016.
“A lot has changed since the 1960s,” says David Miller, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at Northwestern University who reports the findings with colleagues March 20 in Child Development.
The first of many “draw-a-scientist” studies asked nearly 5,000 children to draw a scientist between 1966 and 1977. “Of those 5,000 drawings,” Miller says, “only 28 … depicted a female scientist.” That’s just 0.6 percent.