Developmental Science

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 22 Issue 2 (March 2019), Pages

Gender differences in egalitarian behavior and attitudes in early childhood

Abstract It is axiomatic that human females are more egalitarian than males. However, surprisingly little empirical research exists that empirically assesses this stereotype. We created two studies designed to objectively examine egalitarian behavior in 3‐ to 5‐year‐old children. In Study 1 we compared the egalitarian behavior and attitudes of American girls versus boys by tabulating the extent to which each gender awarded the same number of stickers to, and liked to the same degree, two puppets. One puppet followed the child's instructions or actions while the other did not during a drawing task in which the child played the roles of leader and peer. In the peer role, girls exhibited more egalitarian behavior than boys. In Study 2, French‐Canadian children were shown two drawings by unknown peers—one messily and one neatly colored—, then asked to distribute stickers to each peer's drawing. Again, girls exhibited more egalitarian behavior than boys. Results suggest the origins of gender differences in egalitarian behavior occur early in life and merit further investigation.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>