Reference : Gender stereotypes and gendered vocational aspirations among Swiss secondary school s...
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
Gender stereotypes and gendered vocational aspirations among Swiss secondary school students
Hadjar, Andreas mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) >]
Aeschlimann, Belinda mailto [University of Bern > Institute of Education]
Educational Research
Yes (verified by ORBilu)
[en] vocational aspiration ; gender stereotypes ; interest ; schooling ; family structure
[en] Background: Horizontal gender inequalities appear to be rather stable, with girls
more often choosing ‘female’ service professions, and boys choosing career paths
related to science, technology, engineering or Mathematics.
Purpose: Non-egalitarian patriarchal gender-role orientations and gender associations
(perceived femininity) of the school subjects German Language Arts and Mathematics
are theorised – triangulating different theoretical backgrounds – and empirically analysed
as a major predictor of gender-typical vocational aspirations, considering interest
in these school subjects as a mediating factor. Furthermore, we focus on a patriarchal
relation of father’s and mother’s workforce participation as a root of gender-role
orientations, and teacher gender in regard to its impact on gendered images of subjects.
Sample: Empirical analyses are based on survey data from eighth-graders (around the
ages of 14 and 15 at the time of data gathering) in the Swiss canton of Bern. The
sample only encompasses children from two-parent families, as patriarchality in
terms of differences in workforce participation between father and mother is taken
into account.
Design and methods: The research issues are analysed employing structural equation
models. The statistical package Mplus allows for an analysis of the two dependent
dichotomous variables ‘gender-typical vocational aspiration’ and ‘gender-atypical
vocational aspiration’. The hierarchic structure of the sample (school class clusters)
is taken into account.
Results: Findings reveal different patterns for boys and girls; for boys, gender-typical
(male) vocational aspiration could be explained to a small extent via gender-role orientations,
interest in Mathematics and gender associations of school subjects; for
girls, the factors under consideration could be empirically linked to ‘atypical vocational
aspiration’. Teacher gender only has an impact among girls: if girls are taught
by a female Mathematics teacher, they perceive the subject as a bit more female and
show a higher interest in this subject. Their likelihood of having a gender-atypical
vocational aspiration is a bit higher than among girls with a male Mathematics teacher
who perceive the subject as a bit less female and, thus, show somewhat lower
interest in this subject.
Conclusions: There are still links – although weak – between gender stereotypes and
vocational aspirations. Gender-role orientations are rooted in the family. A sensitisation
towards gender stereotypes and their impact on aspirations and career would appear to
be meaningful in broadening the vocational perspectives of men and women.
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students ; General public

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