Gender stereotypes begin young

Dear parents of the Davis community,

We are a group of 11th-graders from Davis High School. In our Race and Social Justice in U.S. History class, we have been working on a research project concerning issues in our community. We decided to focus on gender stereotypes, especially in the younger grades in Davis.

Thus, our research group surveyed second-, third-, fifth- and sixth-graders, because a previous research project had already narrowed the age range of initial gender stereotypes to elementary students.

Our main question is: “At what age do youth acknowledge gender stereotypes?” The results of the survey indicated that perception of gender stereotypes were present as early as the second and third grades. We noticed that although the results did not have definitive patterns, there were significant patterns in certain areas.

For example, 74 percent of second- and third-graders categorized being a soldier as a masculine profession. In addition, 68 percent of second- and third-graders categorized nursing as distinctly feminine.

As a group, we want to encourage future generations to be true to what they believe and eliminate the stereotypes that are still present, as seen by our survey. We encourage Davis parents to educate and counsel their children against categorizing themselves and others based on gender. In this way, we hope this will allow children to have futures unhampered by societal pressures and expectations.

We hope that this information will help raise awareness in the Davis community. If you have any questions or want any further information, we invite you to attend our fourth annual symposium from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the library at DHS, 315 W. 14th St.

Hana Moskovitz, Allison Stanley, Katharine Gardias, Elliot George, Helen Leo, Lauren Sutkus and Benjamin Crook


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