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Young people’s gendered occupational choices at the transition to vocational training: The role of parents’ sex-typed ability beliefs, individual aspirations, and institutions


Kriesi, I; Buchmann, M (2011). Young people’s gendered occupational choices at the transition to vocational training: The role of parents’ sex-typed ability beliefs, individual aspirations, and institutions. In: 2nd Congress on Research in Vocational Education and Training., Bern / Zollikofen, 23 March 2011 - 25 March 2011.

Abstract

Young people’s gendered occupational choices are partly responsible for sex-segregation in the labour market,
leading to unequal opportunities of young men and women. The choice of sex-typical occupations is particularly
pronounced at the transition into vocational training. This transition is characteristic of dual educational systems
prevalent in Switzerland or Ger-many.
Current sociological theories (Charles & Bradley, 2009; Ridgeway & Correll, 2004) consider gender-essentialist
stereotypes and beliefs about innate gender differences in abilities, held by young people and gatekeepers (e.g.,
parents, teachers, or employers), as important causes for gendered occupational choices and allocation processes. However, the exact mechanisms leading to gender-segregation at the transition into vocational
training are still underexplored. Little is know about the role of gendered ability beliefs and aspirations vis-à-vis
academic qualifications, which serve as institutionalized selection criteria of trainees. Against this background, our
paper examines whether parents’ gender-typed ability beliefs, adolescents own values and aspirations as well as
academic qualifications affect the probability that young people train in a gender-typical occupation at the age of
18. We extend previous research by distinguishing between two different types of male and female occupations.
Our analyses make use of the Swiss Survey of Children and Youth COCON, a representative longitudinal study
including a cohort of adolescents. The respondents were 15 and 18 years old at the time of data collection in
2006 and 2009 (N=952). The data also includes information from primary caregivers. Results are based on
multinomial regression models run separately for men and women. They show that specific aspects of parents’
gender-typed ability beliefs promote the choice of different types of male or female occupations. In addition,
gendered aspirations as well as educational qualifications are important explanatory factors. The latter highlights
the role of institutional allocation processes in explaining occupational gender segregation at the transition into
vocational training.

Young people’s gendered occupational choices are partly responsible for sex-segregation in the labour market,
leading to unequal opportunities of young men and women. The choice of sex-typical occupations is particularly
pronounced at the transition into vocational training. This transition is characteristic of dual educational systems
prevalent in Switzerland or Ger-many.
Current sociological theories (Charles & Bradley, 2009; Ridgeway & Correll, 2004) consider gender-essentialist
stereotypes and beliefs about innate gender differences in abilities, held by young people and gatekeepers (e.g.,
parents, teachers, or employers), as important causes for gendered occupational choices and allocation processes. However, the exact mechanisms leading to gender-segregation at the transition into vocational
training are still underexplored. Little is know about the role of gendered ability beliefs and aspirations vis-à-vis
academic qualifications, which serve as institutionalized selection criteria of trainees. Against this background, our
paper examines whether parents’ gender-typed ability beliefs, adolescents own values and aspirations as well as
academic qualifications affect the probability that young people train in a gender-typical occupation at the age of
18. We extend previous research by distinguishing between two different types of male and female occupations.
Our analyses make use of the Swiss Survey of Children and Youth COCON, a representative longitudinal study
including a cohort of adolescents. The respondents were 15 and 18 years old at the time of data collection in
2006 and 2009 (N=952). The data also includes information from primary caregivers. Results are based on
multinomial regression models run separately for men and women. They show that specific aspects of parents’
gender-typed ability beliefs promote the choice of different types of male or female occupations. In addition,
gendered aspirations as well as educational qualifications are important explanatory factors. The latter highlights
the role of institutional allocation processes in explaining occupational gender segregation at the transition into
vocational training.

Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Sociology
06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Dewey Decimal Classification:370 Education
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Event End Date:25 March 2011
Deposited On:15 Dec 2011 13:47
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:12
Related URLs:http://www.ehb-schweiz.ch/en/researchanddevelopment/vet2011/Pages/default.aspx
http://www.zora.uzh.ch/52480/

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