4/6 Two-year olds know about feminist theory, according to a new study.
The research from the University of Sydney found that one-year old kids who identified as feminist (a term coined by the Australian feminist activist Emma Watson) were more likely to know about “oppression and sexism in women’s lives”.
“These findings have profound implications for understanding and tackling the social and political issues that shape children’s views of gender and gender equality,” Professor Rebecca Young from the Australian National University said.
“This may also have implications for how we approach issues such as the ‘women’s wage gap’ and the growing gap in pay for women.”
The research, conducted by Professor Young and her colleagues from the School of Social and Community Psychology, analysed data from more than 1,500 children from across Australia, asking them about the way they perceived gender equality.
“We wanted to see how children’s experiences with gender equality would change over time,” she said.”[We wanted] to find out what kind of information they were able to get from the way we approached gender equality.”
Participants were asked to tell the researchers whether they thought gender equality was a “major issue in their lives”, or if they “didn’t think it was a big issue”.
More than two-thirds of the children surveyed (63 per cent) agreed with the statement that “gender equality in the workplace is a major issue”.
But only half (48 per cent of all children) said that gender equality “is a small issue”.
This is the first time the research has examined how children feel about gender equality, Professor Young said.
She said the results showed that “in a relatively short time they’ve become much more accepting of gender equality”.
“In a way it’s like a little mini-revolution in the way children perceive gender equality in their world,” she told ABC News.
“And that’s something we hope they continue to grow up to become more aware of.”
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