When looking at scientific careers women are overrepresented in behavioral science and men in physical science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). According to a U.S. study, behavioral science corresponds more to characteristics aiming at maintaining relationships and working to the service of others (called communion), which correspond more closely to gender stereotypes of women. STEM fields align with characteristics focusing on autonomy and self-promotion (called agency), which are regarded as more stereotypical of men. The surprising insight of this study: The more women view STEM fields to be communal, the more STEM courses they complete and the more men view behavioral science to be agentic, the more behavioral science courses they complete.
Stout, J. G., Grunberg, V. A., & Ito, T. A. (2016). Gender roles and stereotypes about science careers help explain women and men’s science pursuits. Sex Roles, 75, 490-499. doi:10.1007/s11199-016-0647-5