Jimmy's baby doll and Jenny's truck-- Young children's reasoning about gender norms

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To assess the flexibility of reasoning about gender, children ages 4, 6, and 8 years (N= 72) were interviewed about gender norms when different domains were highlighted. The majority of participants at all ages judged a reversal of gender norms in a different cultural context to be acceptable. They also judged gender norms as a matter of personal choice and they negatively evaluated a rule enforcing gender norms in schools. Older children were more likely to show flexibility than younger children. Justifications obtained from 6- and 8-year-olds showed that they considered adherence to gender norms a matter of personal choice and they viewed the rule enforcing gender norms as unfair.

Child Development, 83
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Clare Conry-Murray
Associate Professor of Psychology

My research interests include social development, including moral development, gender development and culture.