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How career preferences reflect gender stereotypes

career research blog

The latest career research insights to grow your career

How career preferences reflect gender stereotypes

Anja Ghetta

An Israeli study investigated how career-decisions depend on gender. When women and men named their aspired occupations, women preferred professions that were more “feminine” and men more “masculine” ones. Similarly, when study participants rated how important different aspects of work were to them (e.g., working indoors, working with numbers and figures) and then matched those job aspects with suitable occupations, men’s aspired occupations were still more “masculine” than women’s. However, these indirect occupational preferences expressed by ratings of work aspects were less gender-typical than the directly named aspired occupations. This suggests that gender bias in professional aspirations can be reduced when focusing on work aspects (e.g., autonomy, field of work, working outdoors) instead of job titles. 

Readers of our blog might also be intereested to check out a free career decision-making platform that is based on the work of the authors of the above presented study:

Gadassi, R., & Gati, I. (2009). The effect of gender stereotypes on explicit and implicit career preferences. The Counseling Psychologist, 37(6), 902-922.