Recently, I came across an article featured on CNN online, discussing how latest research shows that by the age of six, girls feel inferior to boys in terms of intelligence. How could that be? Now, I don’t know about you, but at the age of six, I was definitely more preoccupied about playing at the park with friends and watching the latest episode of Spongebob Squarepants then thinking about how much smarter others were than I was.
According to the article, “US-based researchers found that at the age of 5, girls viewed themselves as being just as capable as their male counterparts in terms of brilliance. But by age 6, they were already perceiving their own gender differently.” Now, the source of this problem shows that these young girls are learning these particular stereotypes from multiple sources: media, peers, teachers, and parents. All of these things can be fixed and dealt with. Society will need to support young women in order to clear the social stigmas that live on to discourage young girls from pursuing “male dominated careers.”
Personally being a young woman on the premed track, the most alarming statement to me was this finding in particular: that these stereotypes are what ultimately discourages young adult women from entering professions that require special mental abilities of being “smart” and “brilliant” versus hard work and a good work ethic. This goes to argue that women are being underrepresented in fields that cherish brilliance, which include those on the premed track. I believe it is important to recognize that we cannot point fingers at anyone and say that it is their fault or blame one another. Instead, this is a time to acknowledge the gap and take the initiative to bridge that gap together.