That article’s a bit drab, so here’s a quick summary:
When five-year-olds were asked to point to a picture of a really, really smart person, boys chose a picture of a boy, and girls chose a picture of a girl. But when they asked six-year-olds, boys still chose a boy, but girls chose a boy too. That suggests that between five and six, girls had started to think that boys were more likely to be smart than girls. Next the researchers played a game with six- and seven-year-olds. They told some of the kids it was a game for really smart people, and some that it was for really hard workers. The boys and the girls both enjoyed the game the same amount when they thought it was for hard workers, but even though it was exactly the same game, the girls who were told it was for smart kids didn’t enjoy it as much as the boys. The researchers think that’s because the girls had decided it wasn’t for them, because they believed they couldn’t be as smart as boys.
Why is that important? Well, first of all, we should probably mention that being a boy or a girl has nothing to do with how smart you are! There are women doing all sorts of amazing, challenging, super-scientific jobs. There’s female rocket scientists, female brain surgeons - The world’s first computer programmer was a woman, and she did it before they’d even made a computer to run her programs!
Think about something you'd love to do with your life when you're older. Is it something you think you could do? If you don't think so, here's a question for you: Think about the reasons why you don't think you could do the thing you want to do. Are they all facts? Can you prove them? Even if you've been told them lots of times, has anyone ever shown you proof? Are you sure they were right? How can you be sure? It would be terribly sad if someone gave up on what they wanted to do with their future because they thought they couldn't do it, when really, they could have all along. But unfortunately that's what's happening! And what's worse, every time it happens, it makes it more likely to happen in future. That's because whenever people give up on a dream because they think people like them can't do it, it means in future, there's less people like them doing it. And that means that when the next lot of people with that dream go looking, they see even less evidence they can do it. Before you can blink, everybody seems to know that girls can't be scientists (for example), but no one actually has any proof of this. They can’t prove it, because it all just started with a stereotype that wasn't really true!
That dream of being a time-travelling robot superhero with laser eyes might have some trouble with the laws of physics, but often the only thing in the way of your future hopes is a faulty stereotype. If the only thing holding you back is who you are, remember that expectations, unlike the laws of physics, can be overcome - but not if you give up.
What are your hopes and dreams? Do you think you can achieve them? What do you think holds you back? Are you secretly a time-travelling robot superhero? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!