In most EU-countries including Belgium, the distribution of students in secondary education mirrors traditional gender roles. There is still a large gap between boys and girls areas and topics, with girls largely choosing study areas leading to ‘female’ occupations and boys for ‘male’ ones. This gender segregation is particularly pronounced in vocational and technical programmes and schools.
Gender segregation is highly problematic in two ways. First, at the individual level, segregation indicates that young individuals’ educational and career options are limited to those that are socially acceptable for their gender. Second, an early segregation is likely to hamper an optimal allocation of human potential and talents at the level of the labour market.
Our main research question is: what is the role of (internalized) gendered images and stereotypes in study subjects and occupations on students’ educational choices? We will investigate the decision-making process retrospectively on the basis of a questionnaire. We will study the school population of the first year of the second grade of a sample of technical and vocational secondary schools.
Researcher: Nico Steegmans
Supervisors: prof. dr. Patrizia Zanoni and prof. dr. Dimitri Mortelmans (Antwerp University)
Period: 2012-may 2014