Stereotypes begin as early as 6 years old for girls in STEM

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Early in elementary school, many children already believe that boys are more interested than girls in computer science and engineering. That stereotype can impact girls’ willingness to participate in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes and activities, and even affect career choices down the road.

That’s the key finding of a recently released study from researchers at the University of Houston and the University of Washington, who surveyed 2,500 students in grades 1 to 12 to learn about the stereotypes children hold regarding boys’ and girls’ interest in STEM, and how those stereotypes affect STEM participation.