New research reveals male characters far outnumber females, pointing to 'symbolic annihilation of women and girls.'

This article titled “Study finds huge gender imbalance in children’s literature” was written by Alison Flood, for guardian.co.uk on Friday 6th May 2011 13.21 UTC

From The Very Hungry Caterpillar to the Cat in the Hat, Peter Rabbit to Babar, children’s books are dominated by male central characters, new research has found, with the gender disparity sending children a message that “women and girls occupy a less important role in society than men or boys”.

Looking at almost 6,000 children’s books published between 1900 and 2000, the study, led by Janice McCabe, a professor of sociology at Florida State University, found that males are central characters in 57% of children’s books published each year, with just 31% having female central characters. Male animals are central characters in 23% of books per year, the study found, while female animals star in only 7.5%.

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