Second-Grade Girls Already Bailing on Math

Study finds stereotype reaches kids strikingly early
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2011 4:01 AM CDT
"Our results show that cultural stereotypes about math are absorbed strikingly early in development," one researcher says.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A disturbingly high proportion of little girls have absorbed the stereotype that math is for boys by the time they reach the second grade, a new study finds. Researchers found that little boys and girls alike tend to associate enjoyment of math with boys, MSNBC reports. "We still don’t know where the children are getting this,” says the study's lead author. “I don’t think anybody is explicitly telling them that. I think it’s a very subtle message.”

The researchers say parents should do their best to counter the stereotypes that cause little girls to think math isn't for them. "Children have their antennae up and are assimilating the stereotypes exhibited by parents, educators, peers, games and the media," one researcher says. "Perhaps if we can depict math as being equally for boys and girls, we can help broaden the interests and aspirations of all our children."

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