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17th Feb 2015

Why do more teen boys and girls choose male role models?

73.1% chose a male hero

Teenagers are more likely to choose a male role model than a female one, according to new research.

As part of the study, researchers at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia in Madrid interviewed almost 800 male and female secondary school students from five countries: the USA, Spain, Hong Kong, Qatar and Malaysia.

The majority, 73.1%, chose a male hero, most commonly a sportsperson, actor or entertainer.

Only 4.8% of boys chose a female role model, while less than half of girls chose a hero of their own gender.

Writing in a paper published in the journal Gender and Education, the researchers said that while adolescents have replaced the literary and historical figures admired 100 years ago with athletes and movie, television and music stars, the bias in favour of males still persists.

Despite the fact that studies show girls perform better academically when they have strong female role models, the researchers claim that adolescents “associate professional success with masculine traits.”