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According to a new report, girls as young as six years old are already under the impression that they could never be as smart or as capable as men. What fresh bullshit are our girls learning?

Researchers conducted a study where they told a story about a “really, really smart” person. The 400 children who participated in the study, all between the ages of 5 and 7, were asked to identify the gender of the person described.

According to the Associated Press, the researchers presented four photos from which to choose. Two pictures were of men and two of women, all professionally dressed. The 5-year-old boys and girls were likely to “associate brilliance with their own gender.” In other words, the boys chose the photo of a man and the girls chose a photo of a woman.

The dramatic turn in girls was in the 6 and 7 age group. Their choosing the picture of a woman as the smart person were “significantly less likely.” The same was true when the scientists moved on to photos of other male and female children.

There is an interesting caveat to the study, however, When asked to choose the gender of someone who does well in school, the girls tended to pick girls.

Andrei Cimpian, co-author of the study and NYU associate professor of psychology, said these findings point to the pervasiveness of gender stereotypes. “These stereotypes float free of any objective markers of achievement and intelligence,” Cimpian told the AP.

Cimpian said he and his colleagues were unable to pin down the exact origins of these damaging ideas about gender and intelligence. Although, it’s safe to say that part of the problem lies in magazines aimed at young girls. Those teach girls how to “wake up pretty” while publications for young boys encourage to “explore your future.” They’re not the sole problems, but they’re certainly not helping anyone.

University of Texas at Austin psychology professor Rebecca Bigler said that the development of gender biases that occur around ages 6 and 7 may also be due to the learning about history’s “geniuses” in school, which they begin learning around this time. The school curricula generally emphasize male figures. Think back. How often did you learn about notable women of history in school?

Bigler suggested including gender discrimination in their education at a young age can help prevent children from developing such harmful biases they’re being subjected to already. “Children will then be … more likely to believe in their own intellectual potential and contribute to social justice and equally by pursuing these careers themselves.”

The next time someone says “Why are you feminists always complaining? We treat boys and girls exactly the same,” ask them how many notable women in history they learned about in school versus their male counterparts. They’ll be lucky to name someone other than Susan B. Anthony.

But don’t just leave it up to the schools to teach your kids about gender discrimination and awesome female inventors, artists, mathematicians, engineers, etc. It’s up to the parents as well. Read to them Hidden Figures, a book about black women engineers who worked at NASA. Or Wonder Women, a book that highlights many different amazing women in history from various different backgrounds and fields. Let’s do this, ladies. The future is female.

Source: Mic Network

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Christina E. Janke

Christina is the co-host of “Intro to Geek” on Shauncastic and Editor-in-Chief at Agents of Geek. Her love of all things Mass Effect knows no bounds. She also carries an obsession with comic books, video games, and quirky television shows. Her heroes are Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Gail Simone. She hopes to be just like them when she grows up.

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