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The influence of gender beliefs and early exposure to math, science and technology in female degree choices

Rojas Blanco, Laura Cristina (2013) The influence of gender beliefs and early exposure to math, science and technology in female degree choices. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This research consists of three sections testing the hypothesis that gender roles and gender-stereotyping of certain fields of study could be associated with women choosing traditionally female degree options characterized by lower wages. The analysis is framed within the identity economics framework. In the first chapter, data from the 1970 British Cohort Study supports the hypothesis that teenage girls are more likely to accept gender-equal beliefs when their mother shares these beliefs or she works; and that having gender equal beliefs and developing early mathematical and technological skills either encourage girls to study for high-paying degrees or discourage them from entering female-dominated degrees. The second chapter analyses the responses from an online questionnaire applied to female academics at the University of York. Such survey collected testimonies about their experiences regarding the construction of gender, encouragement and discouragement in mathematics, science and technology at school and the household environments; and their degree choice. Results provide some evidence in favour of the initial hypothesis, but they also show a disassociation between how women perceive the sex-typing of subject fields and their own confidence in their capabilities and tastes. It also suggests that bad experiences with certain subjects are more relevant in keeping women away from high-earnings degrees than the lack of positive experiences. Finally, the third chapter estimates earnings functions and provides a gender wage decomposition using data from the 1970 British Cohort Study at ages 29 and 34. Results do not support the hypothesis that having a high-earnings degree is associated with higher wages for women. Although there is an initial premium, it disappears by age 34. In contrast, working in a high-earnings occupation is positively associated with higher wages, while remaining in female-dominated occupations is negatively associated with wages for women.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: gender wage gap, degree choice, identity
Academic Units: The University of York > School of Politics, Economics and Philosophy (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.581763
Depositing User: Laura Cristina Rojas Blanco
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2013 10:51
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:02
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/4695

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