Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Young people in gender-atypical professions often have above-average school results

20.08.2013
Young people in gender-atypical professions often have above-average school results

In Switzerland, many professions are predominantly male, others are predominantly female. Gender segregation is much more pronounced than in the rest of Europe. Persons who chose gender-atypical professions often achieve above-average school results and show great self-confidence. These are the conclusions of a study which is part of the National Research Programme "Gender Equality" (NRP 60).

The study results and the text of this press release can be found on the website of NRP 60 (wwwnfp.60) as well as on the website of the Swiss National Science Foundation (www.snsf.ch > Press > Press releases).

Compared to other European countries, professional gender segregation is particularly pronounced in Switzerland: women predominantly work in female professions while men work in male professions. Gender segregation is problematic for a number of reasons: female professions such as care jobs often carry low prestige, offer few career opportunities and are badly paid. In addition, this segregation also leaves a great potential untapped because people who only choose gender-typical professions may never fully develop their abilities. Less segregation would also strongly benefit gendered professions such as engineering and health care, which suffer from a shortage of qualified personnel.

Educational and professional career paths of 6000 young people
Why is gender segregation so pronounced? What could be done to counteract it? These are the questions addressed by Andrea Maihofer, Manfred Max Bergman and their team from the Center for Gender Studies and the Department of Sociology at Basel University as part of the National Research Programme "Gender Equality" (NRP 60). For their representative longitudinal study, they analysed the educational and professional career paths of 6000 young people and conducted in-depth interviews with 33 adults who left school ten years ago. Gendered professions were defined as occupations in which more than 70% are either men or women; all other professions are considered gender neutral.

The study shows that choosing a gender-atypical education or profession continues to be the exception. Professional gender segregation is therefore not a generational problem which will disappear by itself in the next few years. Of the 6000 young people only 22 women and 20 men aspired to a gender-atypical profession when they were 16 and still work in this profession ten years later. This corresponds to less than one percent. In addition, some of these people work in a gender-typical niche of their profession.

Influential gender stereotypes
There are many reasons for this pronounced gender segregation. In the Swiss education system, young people have to choose a profession at around 15 years of age, which is earlier than in other countries. At this age, they are heavily influenced by gender stereotypes. Most teenagers therefore never think of choosing a gender-atypical profession. In addition, they tend not to alter their gender-typical career path at a later stage because the education system does not encourage such changes.

The desire to start a family is another factor in choosing a traditional career: young women who wish to have children tend to choose female professions which will enable them to take maternity breaks and work part-time. Men who wish to become fathers are inclined to choose a profession promising a good income and career opportunities which will enable them to become the main earner of the family. These decisions early in professional life make it difficult to realise family models beyond the traditional breadwinner-housewife model.

Opening doors to gender-atypical professions
Young men and women who work in a gender-atypical profession – e.g. women as car mechanics, men as carers – tend to have better reading and mathematical skills than their colleagues who work in a gender-typical profession. In addition, their parents reached a higher level of education. The researchers interpret this as an indicator that young people who choose a gender-atypical profession and work in it need special resources and great self-confidence to overcome existing preconceptions. The advantages of choosing a gender-atypical profession vary for young men and women: young men in female professions generally have low-prestige jobs while women often gain in status by choosing a typically male profession.

How can gender-atypical professions become more accessible to young people? The researchers emphasise the importance of encouragement by family members as well as teachers and vocational trainers if a teenager expresses the wish to learn a gender-atypical profession. In addition, they recommend that schools and career counselors should increasingly discuss gender-atypical professions and family models beyond the breadwinner-housewife model. In typically female professions, remuneration levels and career opportunities should be improved; in typically male professions, part-time work and flexible working hours should become more standard.

Contact
Professor Andrea Maihofer
Center of Gender Studies
University of Basel
061 271 35 59
andrea.maihofer@unibas.ch
Dr Karin Schwiter
Center of Gender Studies
University of Basel
076 442 32 76
karin.schwiter@unibas.ch

| idw
Further information:
http://www.snsf.ch
http://www.nrp60.ch

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>