EXPECTATIONS OF SUCCESS AND PERCEPTION OF COMPETENCE IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF MALE AND FEMALE STUDENTS IN HIGH SCHOOL
When we make the decision of choosing an academic or professional option we implement numerous emotional and cognitive mechanisms through which we compare the various aspects related to the final choice. The result of the socialization process build mental models about what is best for each one as a man or a woman. This assignation is internalized, so we can associate, for example, the exercise of a profession like a surgeon with a man and professions like nurse or hairdresser with a woman, underestimating those males and females in roles that are not the ones associated with their gender.
The education system has its effect on the construction of gender stereotypes and reproduces some behavior patterns adjusted to the models of masculinity and femininity that are considered as socially correct. The educational trajectories of girls and boys are different and some disciplines are still associated with the traditional construction of what is masculine and feminine, resulting in a small number of women in experimental studies and men in technical and humanities or health studies.
The perception that pupils and students have of themselves is another key element for student achievement and also for academic and vocational choices, as well as it is for the motivation of students to school success.
In this paper we check whether there are gender differences in academic preferences and perceptions of academic ability in male and female adolescents. The responses to the questionnaire administered to a sample of high school students reflect different academic preferences. Both males and females rely on the skills they possess, and this is the main reason which makes them lean toward a specific academic choice. The students choose subjects that match their gender role and feel more competent in them. We also found gender differences in the professional interests of both boys and girls. The girls are inclined to professional activities related to the traditional female role (nurse, doctor) and boys prefer those associated with the masculine role (architect, engineer).