Women and girls are less likely to be considered suitable for brain tasks, researchers found in the latest study to shed light on gender-related abnormalities.
Young students do better at school and are more likely to go to university than their peers. The latest study, however, reveals that women are considered intellectually inferior and that such prejudices are present not only in both sexes but also in children.
Dr. Andrey Kippian, co-author of the New York University study, says the study shows that people are acting on the stereotypes they hold by helping to explain the under-representation of women in many areas that they believe are in need of high IQ, technology.
It also gives an idea of why gender-selective recruitment claims are so hotly discussed. "If [the] the referral process is biased, even if the final decision is merit-based, you are still deciding on a group of candidates who have not as many women as they ought to give their competence, "said Cimpian.
Writing in the journal American Psychologist, Cimpian and colleagues report how they did an experiment, first to a group of just over 350 participants and then to about 800 people.
Participants were asked to read a job description and then recommend two people who knew about the job. While half of each group taken at random is told that skills are needed as "successive efforts", the other half is given a job description describing the need for brains.
The team found similar patterns for both the smallest and the larger group of participants, and women are likely to be directed to a job that requires characteristics like "consistent efforts," but men are less likely to be taken , if intelligence is indicated.
The results of the two groups were gathered, but according to the team, the women received 43.5% of the referrals for "brain" work – with the probability that they would be declared 25.3% worse than when no qualities such as the coefficient of intelligence. "Both men and women are less likely to recommend women for" shine "than" dull "work," said Cimpian.
In another experiment, the team asked 192 children aged between five and seven to learn two new games and then to select three teammates from pictures of strangers boys and girls. While half of the children said they simply had to choose the other, the other half said that the participants needed to be very smart.
The results show that in both cases the girls prefer to choose girls and boys to choose boys – but for their third choice, the probability of taking a female team mate fell when the game was described as "really really smart" children.
Cimpian said the study supports previous work, showing that children believe boys are more gifted, but girls do better at school because they work hard. "Children are not born with this idea – we are still in the process of finding exactly where it comes from," he said, adding that all teachers, the media and the parents could be involved.
However, the authors acknowledge that there are limitations on the latest study – including that the scenarios are hypothetical.
Angela Saini, author of Inferior, said gender stereotypes were swallowed at an early age. "It's so stupid, it starts from the second you're born," she said.
Saini said the genius could be seen as a male feature because history has learned to include male "single geniuses" – who have more opportunities than women to do intellectual work and have often been supported by infertile women.
Dame Athene Donald, Professor of Experimental Physics at Cambridge University, describes the widespread bias toward women as discrimination. "[This study] should be a call to wake up to our society to change our thinking and how to shift these biases into our daily lives to the next generation, "she said.