What do children imagine when they draw a scientist?

When boys and girls were asked to draw a scientist in a 1966-'77 study, the results revealed a stunning bias: 99.4% of the drawings depicted a male scientist. Only 28 were of female scientists, all of which were drawn by girls.

When it was repeated in 2018, 24% of the students drew a female scientist. Progress? Sure. But the results point to just how entrenched restrictive gender roles stereotypes still are for women.

Girls are driving the shift: Girls in particular began to draw female scientists more often, vastly outpacing boys, who still draw male scientists nearly nine of out 10 times.

But as female students get older, more of them tend to draw male scientists with 70% of 6-year-old girls drawing a woman, while only 25% of 16-year-old girls do.

It highlights how vital it is to have visible female role models, particularly during the formative ages of 6-16.

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