Topic 3 Gender traditionalities in school and social environment (link with the career choices of the students)

Formulation of gender roles

Gender roles are different expectations that individuals, groups and societies have of individuals based on their sex and based on each society’s values and beliefs about gender.

Children become aware of their gender around the age of five to six years old.

By the time they have reached the ages of 7 or 8 they have a well-established sense of gender identity.

Thus, the school seems to be the ideal place where a child can affirm their identity.

The role of school

The school influences the children’s gender socialization.

In school except the curricula, the students also learn that executives are more men and that women are more likely to hold lower positions.

In general, teachers treat differently girls and boys. They expect girls to be more polite and devoted to their studies, while the boys are expected to be more oblivious and competent, or to enjoy sports.

It seems that schools are comforting gender traditionalism, which obstructs the development of both a masculine and feminine side in both genders

Gender biases are also taught implicitly through the resources chosen for classroom use or through sexist language. The portrayal of males and females in these materials has a strong impact on how children view male and female roles in society.

As a result, teachers’ adherence to traditional gender roles can affect students’ future careers.



Gender stereotypes in school influence to a great extent people’s choice of the work they do and how they can combine it with private life.

They are at the root of occupational, sectoral, time and hierarchical segregation between women and men. Gender stereotypes related to the division of care responsibilities usually turn out to be detrimental for women and their career paths.

Women opt for part-time work more often, with consequences for their life-long income, including pension, and with impact on their career possibilities. Likewise, stereotypical masculinity norms hinder men from fully participating in parenthood and in care giving, while men with more equal gender role attitudes spend more time helping with household labour.

The traditionalism of gender-role beliefs could explain the differences in the rates of educational accomplishment and in STEM-related occupational choices.

There seems to be a higher educational completion and participation in STEM related careers, by females who have a lower support of the traditional gender roles. STEM female students outnumber male students in fields like biology, medicine, and chemistry, but they are still underrepresented in male dominated fields like engineering, computer science and physical science.

Additionally, males with a stronger endorsement of those traditional gender roles seem to have a higher participation in PMET- related (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) professions rather than STEM-related ones.