Gender Disparity in Children’s Books

Well this sure doesn’t come as a surprise to any mom of girls who has looked for strong female leads in children’s books, but Science Daily is reporting on a study that shows that from 1900 to 2000 the gender disparity in books (heavily favoring males) did not change.  Except to get worse in the 50’s.  Great.

Why does this matter?

Since children’s books are a “dominant blueprint of shared cultural values, meanings, and expectations,” the authors say the disparity between male and female characters is sending children a message that “women and girls occupy a less important role in society than men or boys.” Books contribute to how children understand what is expected of women and men, and shape the way children will think about their own place in the world

On that note, I just found this really sweet book called Kiki’s Blankie at the local library.  In this book Kiki is a little monkey who loves her blue blankie so much that she rescues it from a very scary situation.   I was reading this to my daughter and some friends at the library and one little girl kept arguing with me that Kiki is a boy monkey.  She is not obviously a girl (ie: long hair, bedecked in pink) so she MUST be a boy, right?

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