The study also found that:
- Males are central characters in 57 percent of children’s books published per year, while only 31 percent have female central characters.
- No more than 33 percent of children’s books published in any given year contain central characters that are adult women or female animals, but adult men and male animals appear in up to 100 percent of books.
- Male animals are central characters in more than 23 percent of books per year, while female animals are in only 7.5 percent.
- On average, 36.5 percent of books in each year studied include a male in the title, compared to 17.5 percent that include a female.
- Although books published in the 1990s came close to parity for human characters (with a ratio of 0.9:1 for child characters; 1.2:1 for adult characters), a significant disparity of nearly 2 to 1 remains for male animal characters versus female.
This comes as no surprise to me, though it’s still sad to see the numbers crunched. I’ve noticed this about kids’ books. Publishers’ wisdom: girls will read books featuring boys, but boys won’t–so go heavy on the boys and throw in a girl now and then. Something’s got to change.