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The Role of Gender Stereotypes in Choice of Occupation

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The Role of Gender Stereotypes in Choice of Occupation

Table of contents

Abstract 3

Title 3

Introductsion 3

Background 4

Aim and Hypothesis 6

Methods and Ethics 6

Results 7

Discussion 9

References 12

Appendices 14

Questionnaire 14

Tables on career preferences 17

Figure 1: Important career aspects for males 19

Figure 2: Important career aspects for females 19

Tables on career aspects 20

GENDER STEREOTYPES IN THE CHOICE OF OCCUPATION

Abstract

This research is looking into the history of gender stereotypes in terms of the occupation choice. The author tries to find out whether the stereotypes exist in modern society via survey and analysis of its results. During the research a hypotheses was set and found its partial conformation in the results, namely the gender stereotypes are real. The author devoted special attention to the ethical issues of the survey, which also caused a great impact on the results.

Title

A study of the influence of gender stereotypes on the occupational and career choices of males and females by understanding their explicit and implicit career preferences

Introduction

In the modern society, particularly in developed countries, it is almost considered as given, that there is no more place for gender segregation. Both genders tend to be equal, however these achievements appear to be relatively recent, assumingly that is why some stereotypes take place. According to Zafar (2013), the movement of female workers into the labor force in Europe steadily increased in the last thirty years, although this has not been matched by a similar number of women who occupy prestigious and powerful career roles in their respective fields. While theoretically, all careers should be equally available to females and males, various studies have shown that this is not perceived as being realistic by both genders. Gupta et al. (2014) showed that traditional gendered social roles were crucial in determining accepted norms for women and men, which encouraged gender differences in their activities and interests. In addition, Alon and DiPreteb (2015) found that traditional gender roles determined desirable behaviors and qualities for women and men, which led to perpetuation and sustenance of occupational-related gender stereotypes. Along with influences like socio-economic level and race prejudices, gender stereotypes have been implicated into people’s lives influencing family institution and career role importance via the processes of self-regulation and confirmation (Alon & DiPreteb, 2015).

This research sought to investigate the influence of gender stereotypes in the choice of careers by both genders. More specifically, the study sought to elicit direct responses on career preferences for both males and females, as well as indirect responses based on the participants’ preferences for different career aspects, such as analytical vs. artistic paths preferences.

Background

Psychologists believe that most of the stereotypes gained by people are acquired in childhood. Wang et al. (2013) stated that girls and boys internalize occupational stereotypes in the young age. Children have the ability to sort careers into masculine or feminine at a young age, but the classification (used by children) is similar with the classification, that is used by the adults. Accordingly, these gendered stereotypes that girls and boys internalize during the process of socialization via the media and parents lead both women and men to take up gender-appropriate stereotypical career choices. Mutekwe and Modiba (2012) further noted that occupational-related gender stereotypes had a significant impact on the decision-making process for career choices, arguing that there was a need for researchers to study the context within which these choices were made. However, despite the fact that gender stereotypes portend similar influence on the occupational choice for men and women, the effect is more detrimental for females because the stereotypes limit their occupations to less prestigious and lower paid choices. Indeed, Buccheri et al. (2011) argued that the theories of identity foreclosure and circumscription suggested that gender role socialization prematurely eliminated potential occupational chances, which left them with less optimal aspirations. That is exactly how the absorbed in the childhood ‘traditions’ could bring harm.

The ‘bad’ influence does not stop in the youth, when people become more experienced. Steffens and Jelenec (2011) found that the tendency for males and females to select occupations that are traditionally compatible with their gender was also visible in their college years. In this case, males have more interest in physical science and math majors than females, whereas females are more interested in humanities, arts, and education majors compared to males. In another study, Petersen and Hyde (2014) found that women and men have significant differences in their vocational interests with males tending to show more interest in enterprising, investigating, and realistic fields whereas females showing more interest in conventional, social, and artistic fields. Moreover, these tendencies for males and females gravitate towards traditional stereotypical preferences, based on gender, strengthen after they finish college, in which the aspirations of women to raise a family tends to encourage them to shift towards occupational fields that are more traditional. However, Cerinsek et al. (2013) argued that differences in career preferences between males and women could not be attributed to variations in their competence, concluding that gendered occupational choices prevailed despite a lack of perceived or actual competence in science or math. The author of this study firmly believed that the gender stereotype affect career choice a lot, which formed an aim and bred an assumption.

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