Boys postpone “female” jobs because of stereotypes, but girls are more open to “male” roles, studies show

Boys are traditionally discouraged by “female” career paths because they are influenced by gender stereotypes, but girls are more likely to reject such tropes, research has found.

Two studies from Abertay University in Dundee and the University of Aberdeen measured how well children understood gender stereotypes and how likely they were to reject them, as well as analyzing the impact stereotypes may have had on their school subject choice.

A total of 294 young people participated in the research, divided into two groups of 9 to 11-year-olds and 13 to 15-year-olds.

The first study involved children who were asked to assess whether men or women would be more suitable for a range of school subjects and job roles, and were also asked what “most people” would think about these.

In the second study, children were asked to choose which subjects they intended to take or had already chosen to study in school, based on a list of eight traditionally masculine subjects (physics, biology, chemistry, PE, woodworking, computer science, graphic communication). and IT) and eight traditionally feminine (French, German, Spanish, Italian, music, drama, art and hospitality).

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The research, published in British Journal of Social Psychology, found that girls rejected gender stereotypes about 50 percent of the time, compared to only about 25 percent for boys.

Boys chose only one traditional female subject for every three traditional male subjects, while girls chose a corresponding proportion from each group.

The researchers said it was time to promote gender equality encourage more men to traditional women’s jobs.

Dr. Lara Wood, associate professor of psychology at Abertay University, said: “Our research shows that boys are still less likely to choose subjects that will allow them to enter careers in industries such as the arts and nursing.

“A lot has been done in recent years to encourage girls to go into careers that are traditionally seen as masculine, such as engineers. However, I think the time has come to encourage more men into professions that are considered traditionally feminine, to promote true gender equality.

“Only about 10 per cent of nurses in the UK are men. Many boys possess qualities such as compassion, the ability to be empathetic, well-developed communication and decision-making skills that would make them great nurses, but they may not feel able to challenge. gender stereotypes and choose topics that could help them in this career. ”

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