- The study surveyed 286 parents and mentors of 654 children who play chess.
- The players recently signed an open letter on “gender-based and sexual violence”
Netflix’s hit show The Queen’s Gambit focuses on a female chess expert who fights to become the world’s greatest player in a male-dominated sport.
It may have happened in the 1950s and 1960s, but new research suggests that young women today face a similar gender bias as they are seen as having less potential than their male counterparts .
Worse still, this belief comes from their parents and mentors, according to the study published by the American Psychological Association.
“It is disheartening to see the potential of young players devalued, even by the people closest to them, like their parents and coaches,” said lead researcher Sophie Arnold of New York University.
In 2020, only 14% of all players in the US Chess Federation were girls or women, while the sport is also mired in sexual assault complaints.
Research: Female chess players are considered to have less potential than men, according to a new study. Worse yet, this belief comes from their parents and mentors (stock image)
Netflix’s hit show The Queen’s Gambit focuses on a female chess expert who fights to become the world’s greatest female player in a male-dominated sport.
More than 100 high-ranking female chess players and coaches recently signed an open letter on “gender-based and sexual violence” in the male-dominated world of chess.
They said it was “one of the main reasons why women and girls, particularly in adolescence, stop playing chess.”
The new study claims that young female chess players also face gender bias when trying to compete.
In response to an online survey, 286 parents and mentors of 654 children on the US Chess Federation’s mailing list said they believed girls had less potential than boys.
This was especially the case if they thought you had to be brilliant to succeed at chess, the researchers said.
Ninety percent of adults surveyed were men and 81 percent of children were boys, further highlighting the extent of the gender disparity in the sport.
“Gender bias can also prevent girls from starting to play chess competitively if their own parents and mentors are not confident that they will succeed,” Arnold said.
The research also showed that parents believed girls benefited from a less supportive environment than boys, although mentors/coaches disagreed with this position.
Regardless of this view, neither believed that girls would be more likely to stop playing chess due to a lack of support.
The researchers cautioned that the findings do not reflect the views of the general public, as those who took part in the survey were involved in the world of chess.
In response to an online survey, 286 parents and mentors of 654 children on the US Chess Federation mailing list said they believe girls have less potential than boys (stock image).
The study also did not include enough mothers and female mentors to determine whether their views differed from those of fathers and male mentors, they added.
Nonetheless, Arnold said the research showed there was still work to be done to combat gender bias in chess.
“Continued structural support for all players is necessary to improve the chess experience of girls and women,” she said.
“Our research also suggests that bias can come from even those closest to girls.”
The study was published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.