The lack of female representation in the political sphere is an undeniable issue of concern. One possible cause may be the stereotypes surrounding political careers. This study aims to establish what stereotypic image exists of what a president ought to look like. 73 children in second grade were asked by the classroom teacher to “draw a picture of the president in 20 years,” and the teacher noted the race and gender of each child, maintaining anonymity otherwise. When these images were analyzed, it was found that children drew images of men in 58.9% of cases, women in 35.62% of cases, and the gender was unclear in 5.48% of cases. There was a significant split in who was drawing each gender, with girls much more likely to draw an image of a female president, leading to 88.46% of the female images drawn by girls. On the other side, the images of male presidents were drawn by both girls and boys far more evenly, with 32.56% of the images drawn by girls and 67.44% drawn by boys. Significant differences emerged in how boys and girls approached the role of the president, and images of females were more likely to be based on real people. With the findings of this study, we can establish the differences between boys and girls in how they view the presidency, which could provide insight into why girls are so much less likely to go into politics, and hopefully give us a way to remedy that wrong.
Dr. Julie Mazzei
The lack of female representation in the political sphere is an undeniable issue of concern in America, and may be partially traced to established stereotypes about American politicians. In this study, 73 children in second grade were asked to “draw a picture of the president in 20 years,” and the respondent’s race and gender were noted. Using the data from these images, we are able to create an image of the stereotypical American president, and establish what differences exist between male and female perceptions of the presidency. The differences and overarching stereotypes found by this study could provide insight into why girls are so much less likely to go into politics, and hopefully give us a way to remedy that wrong.
Drawings from study