From the age of 4 years, children are considering the greater the power, the masculine and the feminine


Inequality, girl-boy , characterized by the fact that less well to refer to girls/women and provide more opportunities to boys/men. In developing countries , young girls are particularly disadvantaged : the violence, exploitation , sexual abuse… And it is they who are the least in school. But we know little about the way in which representations can interact with those of gender in early childhood. A recent study conducted by an international team of researchers wanted to know whether children aged 3 to 6 years of age from different countries, France, Lebanon and Norway, allocate more power to the male figures as female figures.


In a first experiment, they showed the children a picture which included two characters not genrés of which adopted a posture of physical dominance and the other a posture of subordination. In a first time, the children had to guess which of these two characters was exercising power over the other. They then had to assign a gender to each character (which is the girl, who is the boy). The results show that from the age of four, a large majority of children consider that the dominant figure is a boy. “ The association power-masculinity has been observed as well in boys than in girls. “explain the researchers.


A hierarchy between the genders, which settles down very soon


The latter has also been observed as well in Lebanon, France and Norway. In a second experiment, children ages 4 and 5 years old, educated in France, had to imagine that they were on this image, and that the other character was either a girl, gold boy. When the children were asked to consider their relationship to be able to with a character the same gender as them, the girls like the boys identified themselves largely to the dominant figure. But when they had to consider their relationship of power with a character of a different kind, the boys are identified more often as the dominant figure but the girls did not identify more with one or the other of the characters.


Finally, in a third experiment, children between 4 and 5 years in Lebanon and France, and attended a series of exchanges between two puppets, one representing a girl and the other a boy, behind a cache. In one case, the puppets were playing together and the child heard the one to impose sti choices to the other and in the other case, a puppet had more money than the other to buy ice cream. In France as in Lebanon, most of the boys felt that the puppet who imposed his choice, or had more money was the puppet male. By contrast, girls in the two countries did not allot the dominant position preferentially to one or the other gender.


“These results show a sensitivity for the early children to a hierarchy between the sexes, although the girls, in some situations, do not associate with power and masculinity. “, conclude the scientists. The team of researchers was attempting to find out what forms of power they attribute to the female figures and if they legitimize the expression of a power gendered. Note that in this case the equal girl-boy, Unicef affirms that whatever the reason, the discrimination prevents the enrolment of more than 20 million girls around the world. The organization also said that 67 million children in the world who do not go to primary school, then as they age, more than half are girls.


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