Women's History Month

There's Something Alarming About Children's Books — And It's Time We Change It

"Compared to females, males are represented nearly twice as often in titles and 1.6 times as often as central characters."

March is National Reading Awareness Month and Women's History Month — yet many children's books don't necessarily have strong female roles. And that's a huge problem.

In a video uploaded to Rebel Girls' Facebook page, a mother and daughter examine a bookshelf filled with stories for children. Here's how it went:

First, the pair removed the three books from the shelf with zero male characters. Then, they did the opposite, removing books with zero female characters, pulling a whopping 73 books away.

In Gender in Twentieth-Century Children's Books (2011), researchers analyzed "the representation of males and females in the titles and central characters of 5,618 children's books published throughout the twentieth century in the United States. Compared to females, males are represented nearly twice as often in titles and 1.6 times as often as central characters."

The mother and daughter continue to pull books from the shelves that don't feature speaking female characters, or female characters with aspirations and dreams. By the end, they are only left with a small handful of books. 

Recommended

Recognizing this problem, Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo of Timbuktu Magazine published Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, a children's book packed with 100 bedtime stories about 100 inspirational women of the past and present, including Malala Yousafzai, Simone Biles, and Jane Goodall. 

Hopefully now, more than ever, other authors will be inspired to write those stories with females we can all look up to — no matter what our age. Meanwhile, let's continue to support those who are already making the effort to write with female leads, and share their works within our own families and communities. 

More From A Plus

GET SOME POSITIVITY IN YOUR INBOX

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.