Has anyone ever said that you couldn’t or shouldn’t do something because of one of your traits? If so, you’ve probably been the victim of a stereotype. A stereotype is a set of shared beliefs based on a trait or the identity of a group. A common stereotype is that women are not as good at or interested in science as men. This can result in fewer women participating in the sciences.
We wanted to know if and when these gender stereotypes about science affect children and adolescents. We also wanted to know if stereotypes cause girls to be less interested in and take part less in these fields. To find out, we conducted surveys and laboratory experiments.
We found that very young students believed these gender stereotypes. Girls were less interested in participating in computer science and engineering if they believed the stereotypes. So, teachers and schools should try to generate interest in these fields at an early age.