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Science News

Girl power: Kids' drawings show changing perceptions of who can be a scientist

Over time, more women scientists are showing up in kids' drawings.

 / Updated 8 PHOTOS

What do you want to be when you grow up?

The good news is that more young girls are envisioning the possibility of becoming a scientist. At least that's what a recent analysis concludes from data compiled over years as part of the "Draw-A-Scientist" program.

When schoolchildren were asked to draw a scientist in the 1960s and 1970s a researcher found that less than one percent depicted the scientist as a woman. A new analysis, led by David Miller of Northwestern University, shows a weakening of the stereotype of scientist as a man.

Women have made considerable inroads into science fields since the 1970s and children's drawing reflect this: 28 percent of students drew a female scientist in more recent studies. The numbers aren't staggering, but they reflect progress, nonetheless.

There's an undeniable charm to children's drawings, so we've collected a small sampling from the studies here.

(There's no mention of the prevalence of "lab cats" in these drawings, but we hope that's a trend that won't go away.)

Courtesy of Vasilia Christidou, University of Thessaly, Greece
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10-11 years old

Courtesy of Vasilia Christidou, University of Thessaly, Greece
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8-9 years old

Courtesy of Leon Walls, University of Vermont
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11-12 years old

Courtesy of Evaluation and Learning Research Center, Purdue Univsersity
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10-11 years old

Courtesy of Vasilia Christidou,
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8-9 years old

Courtesy of Leon Walls, University of Vermont
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10-11 years old

Courtesy of Vasilia Christidou, University of Thessaly, Greece
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8-9 years old

Courtesy of Leon Walls, University of Vermont
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