International Survey Shows Extent of Gender Differences in Aspirations for Careers in STEM

A new analysis by the Financial Times documents the extent of the gender gap in STEM fields. The study finds “a sharp difference in attitudes towards boys and girls and their pursuit of science-related careers. It also highlights the gender stereotypes that affect pupils’ career choices and lead women to miss out on higher-earning occupations.”

A survey of 600,000 15-year-olds by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found that one in four boys – but only one in 12 girls-  believed that they would be employed in a STEM field by the time they were 30 years old. More than 6 percent of boys – but less than 1 percent of girls – aspired to a career in computer or information technology.

The study found that in all countries surveyed, parents had higher expectations for boys in STEM than they did for girls. In some cases the gender differences were huge.

The report also cites a survey in the United Kingdom that half of parents and two-thirds of teachers admitted to stereotypes about girls and boys in relation to STEM occupations. The survey found that more than two-thirds of teachers reported that they had seen examples of girls dropping STEM courses because of parental pressure.

The full analysis, “Gender Bias Holds Girls Back From Science Careers,” may be found here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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