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Gender-Biased Children’s Books

May 31, 2011

Children’s books are dominated by male characters.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Gender biased kids’ books…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Reading to kids is important for their intellectual development, but a new study suggests that children’s books are heavily biased toward male characters. Florida State University sociologist Janice McCabe and her colleagues analyzed over 5,600 children’s books published between 1900 and 2000 and found that males were featured as central characters more than one and a half times more often than females. But she says the worst discrepancies were for animal characters.

JANICE MCCABE (Florida State University):

Male animals are central characters over 2 ½ times more often than female animals.

HIRSHON:

And while the gender balance for human characters has improved in recent years, the disparity remains for animals. She adds that gender-biased books may reinforce the idea that female characters are less important than male characters. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.