Universitat Jaume I (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 2445-2452
ISBN: 978-84-09-14755-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2019.0652
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
The numerical superiority of women in higher education has inverted the proportions between the genders in the statistics of all the developed countries since the second half of the 20th century. In addition, women’s occupational choices are less traditional today than they were some decades ago. However, the overall pattern of gender differences remains yet. Previous research has evidenced that traditional gender roles set out desirable qualities and behaviours for both men and women, leading to the development and perpetuation of career-related gender stereotypes. From the role congruity perspective (Diekman & Eagly, 2008), the internalization of gender roles leads people to endorse gender-stereotypic goals, which then predispose them to interest in occupations that afford the pursuit of those goals. These stereotypes, which are internalized during the socialization process through different agents, steer both men and women toward more “gender-appropriate,” stereotypical occupational choices. Thus, career-related gender stereotypes influence the process of career decision making. One important reason for this discrepancy is that certain careers (especially in STEM) are perceived as less congruent than careers in other fields aimed to fulfil communal goals (e.g., working with or helping other people). Such perceptions might disproportionately affect women’s career decisions, because women tend to endorse communal goals more than men do.

The present study compared gender differences in career enrolment and the reasons for this choice. A total of 4.007 undergraduate students from 20 universities of Pyrenees – Mediterranean Region were asked about the reasons of their career choice in the framework of Via Universitària Survey (2018). The study tested the hypothesis that women enrolment in masculine stereotyped careers is lower and the reasons of career choice are different. The results reveal that women are overrepresented in humanities and health sciences while men are majority in experimental and technological sciences. In addition, women’s reasons to career choice are related to social impact and personal skills, while men’s reasons are more linked to incomes and social position. Moreover, the perceived usefulness of the studies is different between women and men. Women consider that studies will allow them to higher personal growth and the improvement of the society, while men perceive that will allow them to achieve a better social position and incomes. The implications of the results for education and future research guidelines are also discussed.
Stereotypes, gender, career choice.