Gender Differences in Occupational Selection


Your task is to explore a controversy or complex issue in human development, taking into consideration various points of view and what research has to say on the subject. It isn\’t necessary to take sides. You may come to your own conclusions; just be sure your conclusions make sense given the facts you present.Important note on topic selection: I DO NOT want encyclopedic papers that just reports facts.

Sample paper

Gender Differences in Occupational Selection

Women and men continue to demonstrate variations in the kinds of career they pursue, despite extensive increases in women’s chances in the paid labor force. Men are said to dominate careers associated to business, engineering, and sciences, while women dominate careers associated to administrative support, education, and social sciences. Different explanations for the current gender imbalance in career selection have been identified to include discrimination, gender variations in desire to work with things versus people, the socialization of achievement-associate attitudes, evolved sex variations in cognitive and personality abilities, as well as the relations between career interest and goals (Evans & Diekman, 2009). This paper evaluates the main causes of gender variation in occupational selection.

According to Wang, Eccles and Kenny (2013), while the gender gap in mathematics has reduced in the recent past, female remain to be less probable to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) compared to male. The female underrepresentation in STEM fields according to different researches is attributed to gender variations in math ability, lifestyle and occupational preferences and values, interests, and ability self-concepts. These researches have clearly demonstrated that math ability is not by itself an overriding factor in the females’ underrepresentation in math-intensive fields. Researchers have also demonstrated that among females and males with equal outstanding ability in math, females are probable to outdo males in verbal aptitude. This ability differences’ pattern might permit females extra career choice, compared to males and therefore, more chances to consider careers in both non-STEM and STEM fields (Wang, Eccles & Kenny, 2013). Research has also proposed that individuals compare their performance across various domains to attain conclusions regarding their relative abilities. Past research demonstrates that persons with better math skills contain slightly reduced English-ability self-concepts, but greater math-ability self-concept, and those with improved English Skills contain greater English-ability self-concepts through slightly reduced math-ability self-concept. They can thus adopt different career path with the later having better chances for both STEM and non-STEM career paths (Wang, Eccles & Kenny, 2013).

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Cultural gender based stereotyping and discrimination is another aspect that influences variation in career choice between male and female. A study was conducted by Ramaci et al. (2017) to assess the gender stereotypes role in career choices in adolescents and the gender career perception, particularly professional preference self-efficacy. The research results demonstrate that female more often manifest the desire to go on with their education as male prefer non-university career path that include military careers. Females were found to offer considerably higher significance to access conditions, employment prospects, and to the number of university course members and the practical workshops presence compared to male. In addition, conditions that make gender differences salient such as boys performing better in STEM subjects than girls in the 12th grade, are more probable to favor career self-assessment and self-representations consistent with the prejudices. For instance, data demonstrate that more males see themselves to be more self-effective in artisan/agriculture, technological/scientific, and military professions than female (Ramaci et al., 2017).

Variation in gender-based career interest is also explained based on role congruity perspective. According to Evans and Diekman (2009), women and men endorse varying distant goals. The idea about what one will become in future is highly influenced by gender role internalization into self. Small though consistent sex variations in motivational strivings have been recognized at both specific and broad goal hierarchy levels. According to Evans and Diekman (2009), social role framework, adopted gender beliefs, especially injunctive and self-concept gender norms, predict the validation of gendered distant goals, which forecast gender-stereotypical career interest. Evans and Diekman (2009) also established that gender variations in women’s and men’s role-based goal rest on their varying gender roles internalization. Goals are said to result to varying interest in female- and male-stereotypic career, by mediating the association between career interest and gender beliefs.

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Interest variation between male and female is another aspect that attribute to variation in the gender-based selection of occupation. According to Burns (2014), since interest is highly influenced by culture, parent’s expectation, exposure of a child to permissible activities, and societal values, gender variations play a significant role in the development of career interest inventory and occupational selection. In Burns (2014) view, gender-based interests are obvious by age of 15 years, and they are never unlearned. Generally, male prefer working with things than people, while women prefer working with people than things. Female are thus said to be more inclined to social, conventional and artistic interest categories, while male prefer investigative and realistic categories. The variation between the genders are said to persist despite changes in life-span development and age. Research proposes that female’s interests seem too comprehensive and female’s interest heterogeneity makes it harder to stipulate women occupational interest patterns. Moreover, the average female employee’s duties are not similar to those of an average male employee in the same occupation maybe due too cultural perspective and societal expectations. The career interest inventories gap is further advanced by the chances that the inventories might have been initially structure for testing male with later female inclusion in already existing instruments (Burns, 2014).


In conclusion, women and men tend to end up in varying occupations for different reasons. One reason that attributes to gender variation in career selection include varying subject based cognitive ability, where men seems to do better than women in STEM subjects and women to do better than men in non-STEM subjects. Cultural discrimination is another reason, where women are set for certain role and men for other roles has also played a part in gender gap in career selection. Varying interest between male and females has also been said to land male in different career from women. The adopted goals and values in life is also said to lead women to different paths from men. Gender differences in career occupation can thus be said to be deep root, and there are thus minimal chances for closing the gap, unless both gender focus on other aspects such as economic or defying the norm, to break the trend.


Burns, S. T. (2014). Gender differences in the validity of career interest inventories. Psychology, 5, 785-792.

Evans, C. D., & Diekman, A. B. (2009). On motivated role selection: Gender beliefs, distant goals, and career interest. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33, 235-249.

Ramaci, T., Pellerone, M., Ledda, C., Presti, G., Squatrito, V., & Rapisarda, V. (2017). Gender stereotypes in occupational choice: a cross-sectional study on a group of Italian adolescents. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 10, 109-117.

Wang, M-T., Eccles, J. S., & Kenny, S. (2013). Not lack of ability but more choice: individual and gender differences in choice of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Psychological Science, 20(10), 1-6.

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