When girls reach the tender age of six-years-old they begin to doubt their own intelligence and start to believe that boys are actually smarter.
It is thought that this change in thought process damages girls’ ability to reach top jobs in the future and limits their aspirations. This leaves these senior posts open to men at the expense of women.
Research found that females get an inferiority complex at such a young age and they don’t fee they can be as “brilliant” as boys.
At this age girls are more likely than boys to shy away from activities for ‘really, really clever’ children. These girls have barely started their primary education when these feelings appear.
These feelings then have a knock-on effect that extends into adulthood. Interestingly when the girls are aged five there is no difference between genders.
The study, by researchers at New York University, the University of Illinois, and Princeton University, found from the age of six, girls are taught by society to associate males with being smarter.
Professor Andrew Cimpian, senior author of the paper said: ‘Even though the stereotype equating brilliance with men doesn’t match reality, it might nonetheless take a toll on girls’ aspirations and on their eventual careers.’
Professor Sarah-Jane Leslie, from Princeton University said: “In earlier work, we found that adult women were less likely to receive higher degrees in fields thought to require “brilliance,” and these new findings show that these stereotypes begin to impact girls’ choices at a heartbreakingly young age.”
Lin Bian, from the University of Illinois said: “Our society tends to associate brilliance with men more than with women, and this notion pushes women away from jobs that are perceived to require brilliance.”