We investigated US college students’ gender-typed attitudes about occupations for themselves as a predictor of their real-world decisions regarding an academic major and intended future career. We also investigated US college students’ attitudes about the appropriateness of gender-typed occupations for other men and women. The sample (N = 264) was mostly Caucasian and was drawn from a large state university in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US. An established self-report measure (see Liben and Bigler 2002) was used to assess attitudes about occupations for the self and other people. Gender-typed majors and intended careers were categorized using a coding scheme that was developed for the study. College students preferred gender-stereotypical occupations for themselves. Women’s, but not men’s, preferences for gender-typed occupations predicted their decisions about their academic major and the career they intended to pursue. Both men and women reported that men should only hold masculine occupations, but that women should hold both masculine and feminine occupations. We discuss the implications of our results for understanding the gender gap in occupations in the US, such as the underrepresentation of women in STEM careers and barriers for men in stereotypically female occupations.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 24, 2013
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