Mathilde Langevin/Unsplash

Source: Mathilde Langevin/Unsplash

Boys are brilliant. Girls read better. Only children are spoiled. Parents play an identifiable role in perpetuating stereotypes, be they about race, sibling status, or gender.

According to a study published in Science, “Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests.” The researchers found that girls as young as 6 associate a high level of intellectual ability, such as brilliance or genius, with men more than women. The study pointedly notes that the 6-year-old girls shied away from fields such as philosophy and physics, believing those areas are reserved for kids who are “really, really smart”—i.e., boys.

Parents’ gender stereotypes are important in perpetuating gender differences, since they may affect the development of children’s beliefs about their…

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