Can female LEGO figures attract more girls to science? Sometimes not always?

October 6, 2014 at 8:51 am 1 comment

Interesting question: When do toys lead to changes in stereotypes, and when don’t they?

Why is including female scientists in toys for young kids so important? Because children begin making stereotypical assumptions of what a scientist looks like early in elementary school, and these stereotypes become more firmly implanted year-by-year. Starting in 1957, several research groups have asked school children to “draw a scientist” in order to probe these stereotypes. Normally, when someone is asked to draw a generic person they will draw a person of their own gender. This is not true when children are asked to draw scientists. In study after study, the vast majority of students of both genders draw a scientist as a white man in a lab coat.What is really fascinating is that several studies—although not all—have found that these stereotypes can be changed by simply exposing children to female and/or minority scientists. After interacting with diverse examples of scientists, children made more realistic images of scientists—portraying them without dangerous, smoking test tubes for example—and were more likely to draw female and minority scientists.

via Can female LEGO figures attract more girls to science? | AAAS MemberCentral.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Bonnie  |  October 6, 2014 at 9:06 am

    My kids, both my sons and my daughter, are hugely into Legos. What is great about the female scientists is that they are regular minifigures. Lego has its “girl’s line” of products, which features lots of pink and purple and girly looking figures in buildings that are stereotypically “girl”. My daughter will not go near those sets. She only wants “real Legos”. Since the female scientists are regular minifigures, aka “real Legos”, she will get to play with them as will my sons.

    Reply

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