Nav: Home

Children at Swedish 'gender-neutral' preschools are less likely to gender-stereotype

May 29, 2017

A new study from Uppsala University in Sweden has indicated that the norm-conscious practices used by teachers at preschools termed "gender-neutral" are associated with reductions in children's tendencies to make gender-stereotypical assumption. The practices are also associated with children's increased interest in playing with unfamiliar peers of the opposite sex.

A number of Swedish preschools have attracted international attention for their pedagogical practices aimed at reducing differences in the opportunities available to children of different genders. These practices include de-emphasising gender differences, for example by using the recently coined Swedish gender-neutral pronoun, and avoiding behaviour towards children that traditionally would be gender specific, for example not complimenting girls on their clothes.

Despite this international interest, till now there was no study evaluating the effects of these practices on children's behaviour by comparing them with children attending more traditional preschools but matched in other demographic factors.

When shown pictures of unfamiliar peers by the researchers, children attending a gender-neutral preschool made fewer gender-stereotyped assumptions about them, and were less likely to show no interest in playing with them when they were of the opposite sex.

Because gender-neutral schools are rare even in Sweden, the sample size was small, meaning that although there is statistical confidence in the effects' existence, it is not possible to estimate with confidence how strong they are. Children's families had chosen the preschools their children attended, raising the issue of whether differences in family background caused the effects. However, when families who reported choosing their preschools because of gender-related aspects of pedagogy were removed from the sample, the effects remained.

Children at the gender-neutral preschool were not less likely to notice the gender of unfamiliar children, however.

'Together the results suggest that although gender-neutral pedagogy on its own may not reduce children's tendency to use gender to categorise people, it reduces their tendency to gender-stereotype and gender-segregate, which could widen the opportunities available to them', says Dr. Ben Kenward, researcher at Uppsala University and Oxford Brookes University.
-end-


Uppsala University

Related Children Articles:

Preterm children have similar temperament to children who were institutionally deprived
A child's temperament is affected by the early stages of their life.
Only-children more likely to be obese than children with siblings
Families with multiple children tend to make more healthy eating decisions than families with a single child.
Children living in countryside outperform children living in metropolitan area in motor skills
Residential density is related to children's motor skills, engagement in outdoor play and organised sports. that Finnish children living in the countryside spent more time outdoors and had better motor skills than their age peers in the metropolitan area.
Hispanic and black children more likely to miss school due to eczema than white children
In a study that highlights racial disparities in the everyday impact of eczema, new research shows Hispanic and black children are more likely than white children to miss school due to the chronic skin disease.
Children, their parents, and health professionals often underestimate children's higher weight status
More than half of parents underestimated their children's classification as overweight or obese -- children themselves and health professionals also share this misperception, according to new research being presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, UK (April 28-May 1).
Children with autism are in 'in-tune' with mom's feelings like other children
New research addresses limitations of prior autism spectrum disorder (ASD) studies on facial emotion recognition by using five distinct facial emotions in unfamiliar and familiar (mom) faces to test the influence of familiarity in children with and without ASD.
First Nations children and youth experiencing more pain than non-First Nations children
First Nations children and youth are experiencing more pain than non-First Nations children, but do not access specialist or mental health services at the same rate as their non-First Nations peers, found new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Grandparents: Raising their children's children, they get the job done
Millions of children are being raised solely by their grandparents, with numbers continuing to climb as the opioid crisis and other factors disrupt families.
How do you assess pain in children who can't express themselves? New research identifies priorities in identifying pain in nonverbal children with medical complexity
Pain is a frequent problem for children with complex medical conditions -- but many of them are unable to communicate their pain verbally.
Under age 13, suicide rates are roughly double for black children vs. white children
A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that racial disparities in suicide rates are age-related.
More Children News and Children Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab