A recent meta-analysis by Miller and colleagues of 78 studies amongst in total 20000 children in the United States performed in the period 1966-2016 on stereotypes in science has recently shown that children draw more often female scientists. While in the period 1966-1977 only 0.6% percent of the children drew female scientists in the period 1985-2016 this value increased to 28%.
The authors conclude:
“Children’s stereotypes of scientists could therefore partly shape sex differences in science‐related interests (Gunderson et al., 2012; Hyde, 2014). Girls in recent years may now develop these interests more freely because these stereotypes of scientists have become more androgynous over time. Nevertheless, women remain underrepresented in several science fields, and information about such imbalances is filtered through multiple sources such as mass media and social interactions. Children’s drawings of scientists provide one fruitful way to study how children integrate information from these sources to form stereotypes about scientists. ”
Child Development, The Development of Children’s Gender-Science Stereotypes: A Meta-Analysis of Five Decades of U.S. Draw-A-Scientist Studies, DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13039