Universitat Jaume I (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 8859-8866
ISBN: 978-84-09-24232-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2020.1963
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Gender gaps in after higher education future expectations are well documented. Women generally have low achievement motivation and negative expectations about their self-performance in the future (Denmark, 1993). They usually show lower expectations and lower satisfaction with its execution even though the execution of men and women is equally accurate (Watson & Hoffman, 1996 in García-Retamero 2006). In addition, women generally perceive that their performance of a responsibility job can negatively affect their social relationships as well as their goals in life. This perception favours low levels of achievement motivation (Killeen, López-Zafra, & Eagly, 2006).
In general terms, men show higher future expectations than women in terms of incomes meanwhile women show higher expectations for contributing to the improvement of the society. Different factors can contribute to this gap.
From role congruity theory (Diekman and Eagly, 2008), the internalization of gender roles leads people to endorse gender-stereotypic 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.
In addition, higher education is organized primarily by discipline, and these disciplines are unequal with respect to power, prestige, and economic payoffs. Occupations linked to STEM and business, are typically much more prestigious than the humanities or social sciences. Given the fact that young females place a higher value on people-oriented jobs and young males value more competitive and wealth-related occupations and jobs, the faculties with power and prestige are male-dominated fields.
The present study compared the gender differences in expectations of undergraduated students from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and EWH fields (Education, Health and Well-being). 5.423 undergraduate students from 19 universities of Pyrenees – Mediterranean Region were asked about expectations in the framework of Via Universitària Survey (2018). The present study tested the hypothesis that the gender differences in future expectations are lower in EHW students, due to their shared motivation of caring professions than in STEM students, who are more focused in agentic motivations related to power and wealth. The main findings confirmed that EHW fields students did not differ according to gender meanwhile the gender is a key factor about the future expectations between men and women in STEM fields: men in STEM showed higher future expectations regarding incomes ans status than women in STEM. These findings evidence that gender differences on future expectations among students are conditioned by the field of study. How the future expectations vary among students based on gender and discipline are two factors that may be considered to plan more inclusive and equity educational politics. The implication of the results for future research guidelines are also discussed.
Gender, expectations, disciplines, higher education, STEM, EHW.