gender and subject choice


Terms in this set (...)

national curriculum
the introduction of national curriculum means that gendered subject choice is now less obvious at secondary schools, however at A level there is an obvious gendered subject choice.
examples of gendered A levels
- computing: 90% boys 10% girls
- sociology: 24% boys 76% girls
reasons for gendered subject choice
- early socialisation
- gendered subject image
- peer pressure
- gendered career opportunities
early socialisation
in socialisation, children learn gendered norms which shape their gender identity. Norman (1988) notes that from an early age boys and girls are dressed differently, given different toys and are encouraged to take part in different activities. Browne and Ross (1991) argue this leads to children's beliefs about gender domains - tasks and activities that boys and girls see as male or female territory.
gendered subject image
it is argued that certain subjects 'give off' a gendered image which either encourages or discourages boys and girls, through the image it projects. Kelly's study showed that science was seen as a male subject due to the higher number of male teachers and examples that teachers and textbooks draw on reflecting male rather than female experiences.
peer pressure
subject choice can be influenced by peer pressure , boys and girls may apply peer pressure to an individual if they disapprove of their choice. boys tend to opt out of music and dance as these are outside of their gender domain. Paetcher (1998) found that because pupils see sport as a male subject, girls who are sporty have to cope with an image that contradicts the conventional female stereotype. male students have been found to label girls who do take as lesbian or butch.
gendered career opportunities
an important reason for differences in subject choice is the fact that employment remains highly gendered - jobs tend to be sex types as 'men's' or 'women's'. women's jobs tend to involve work similar to that performed by house wives, such as childcare and nursing.