The gender gap in the studies of science, technology, computing, and languages. Expectations and motivations of secondary school teachers and teachers.
About (English version):
Despite the high participation of women in university studies and scientific fields, women are particularly underrepresented in Science, Technology and Engineering (STEM)- related careers. Similarly, men are underrepresented in the studies and occupations within the fields of humanities and social sciences. This underrepresentation pattern has been constantly documented by researchers from many different western and non-western countries (Eccles-Parsons et al, 1983; Eccles, 2007; Nagy, Trautwein, Baumert, Köller and Garrett, 2006; López-Sáez, Puertas, and Sáinz, 2011; OECD, 2012; Watt, 2010; among others). Furthermore, women are more likely to concentrate in lower status and power STEM professions and positions and other low status non-STEM professions (Eccles, 2007; Watt, 2010). In Spain, where the present research was carried out, women account for the 26.27% of the university enrollments in technological fields (Instituto de la mujer, 2013). However, they are highly represented in the studies of humanities (63.56%), social sciences (60.85%), health (71.36%) and natural sciences (54.2%). As most of the most prestigious and managerial jobs are related to technology, this field continues to be a male-dominated setting where women tend to occupy positions entailing less status and power (Eagly, 2001). It also means that women hardly participate in the design and production of technological services and tools (Sáinz, Pálmen, García-Cuesta, 2012). Similarly, there is a dearth of men in occupations such as nursing or primary school education. This subject matter has been vastly documented by the international scientific community and continues being a topic of concern for both scientists and policy makers. Jacquelynne Eccles’ and collaborators’ (Eccles-Parsons et al., 1983) expectancy and value theory of achievement related choices has inpired a lot of international studies about this phenomenon. Some other motivation-based theories, such as Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1997; Bussey & Bandura, 1999), as well as gender socialization theories, such as Jacquelynne Eccles gender socialization framework (Eccles, 1987) or Sandra Bem’s theory on gender schemas (1986) -among other authors-, have also provided empirical support to this phenomenon. They share the common premise that men and women continue making career-related decisions congruent with gender roles and stereotypes. From early years, men and women are socialized to act accordingly to those gender roles (Eccles-Parsons, 1982; Eccles, 2008). The school and family contribute to transmit and reinforce those stereotypical beliefs, as well as individuals’ academic and occupational expectancies (Eccles & Roeser, 2011; Sáinz et al., 2012). Furthermore, teachers tend to have more success expectancies for boys in mathematics and technology; whereby, they also expect that girls perform better in the subject areas related to humanities and social sciences. This has an impact on how competent boys and girls think they are in those subject areas, their scores and the choice related to those subject areas (Bandura, 1997; Eccles –Parsons, 1983). These and other influences could explain why boys are more likely to choose subjects within the science and technology track whereas girls are more likely to choose subjects within the humanities, health and social sciences. PISA and other standardized tests evidence the influence that success expectancies and gender stereotypes have on adolescents’ performance in science, mathematics and reading comprehension (Sáinz & Eccles, 2012). Therefore the present study has the following main objectives: 1) Analyze longitudinally from a gender perspective the influence that the existing relationship between students’ self-concept of ability, perception of teachers’ evaluation of their ability and performance in the different subject areas of secondary school has on secondary students’ study choices. 2) Examine secondary teachers’ opinions about PISA findings, contrasting their appraisal about girls’ and boys’ competence in the different subject areas of secondary school. The teachers’ academic and professional trayectories in secondary education will be also considered as well the teaching field of knowledge they are involved in.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
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