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Will I fit in and do well? The importance of social belongingness and self-efficacy for explaining gender differences in interest in STEM- and HEED-majors.

Tellhed, Una LU ; Bäckström, Martin LU and Björklund, Fredrik LU (2017) In Sex Roles: A Journal of Research 77(1). p.86-96
Abstract
Throughout the world, the labor market is clearly gender segregated. More research is needed to explain women's lower interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) majors and particularly to explain men's lower interest in HEED (Health care, Elementary Education, and the Domestic spheres) majors. We tested self-efficacy (competence beliefs) and social belongingness expectations (fitting in socially) as mediators of gender differences in interest in STEM and HEED majors in a representative sample of 1,327 Swedish high school students. Gender differences in interest in STEM majors strongly related to women's lower self-efficacy for STEM careers and, to a lesser degree, to women's lower social belongingness expectations... (More)
Throughout the world, the labor market is clearly gender segregated. More research is needed to explain women's lower interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) majors and particularly to explain men's lower interest in HEED (Health care, Elementary Education, and the Domestic spheres) majors. We tested self-efficacy (competence beliefs) and social belongingness expectations (fitting in socially) as mediators of gender differences in interest in STEM and HEED majors in a representative sample of 1,327 Swedish high school students. Gender differences in interest in STEM majors strongly related to women's lower self-efficacy for STEM careers and, to a lesser degree, to women's lower social belongingness expectations with students in STEM majors. Social belongingness expectations also partly explained men's lower interest in HEED majors, but self-efficacy was not an important mediator of gender differences in interest in HEED. These results imply that interventions designed to lessen gender segregation in the labor market need to focus more on the social belongingness of students in the gender minority. Further, to specifically increase women's interest in STEM majors, we need to counteract gender stereotypical competence beliefs and assure women that they have what it takes to handle STEM careers. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
gender, interest, belongingness, self-efficacy, STEM, HEED
in
Sex Roles: A Journal of Research
volume
77
issue
1
pages
10 pages
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • scopus:84992694909
ISSN
0360-0025
DOI
10.1007/s11199-016-0694-y
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2365274b-6054-49ac-a75b-12285c508204
date added to LUP
2016-10-10 09:17:00
date last changed
2017-06-12 09:29:43
@article{2365274b-6054-49ac-a75b-12285c508204,
  abstract     = {Throughout the world, the labor market is clearly gender segregated. More research is needed to explain women's lower interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) majors and particularly to explain men's lower interest in HEED (Health care, Elementary Education, and the Domestic spheres) majors. We tested self-efficacy (competence beliefs) and social belongingness expectations (fitting in socially) as mediators of gender differences in interest in STEM and HEED majors in a representative sample of 1,327 Swedish high school students. Gender differences in interest in STEM majors strongly related to women's lower self-efficacy for STEM careers and, to a lesser degree, to women's lower social belongingness expectations with students in STEM majors. Social belongingness expectations also partly explained men's lower interest in HEED majors, but self-efficacy was not an important mediator of gender differences in interest in HEED. These results imply that interventions designed to lessen gender segregation in the labor market need to focus more on the social belongingness of students in the gender minority. Further, to specifically increase women's interest in STEM majors, we need to counteract gender stereotypical competence beliefs and assure women that they have what it takes to handle STEM careers.},
  articleno    = {77(1)},
  author       = {Tellhed, Una and Bäckström, Martin and Björklund, Fredrik},
  issn         = {0360-0025},
  keyword      = {gender,interest,belongingness,self-efficacy,STEM,HEED},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {06},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {86--96},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Sex Roles: A Journal of Research},
  title        = {Will I fit in and do well? The importance of social belongingness and self-efficacy for explaining gender differences in interest in STEM- and HEED-majors.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11199-016-0694-y},
  volume       = {77},
  year         = {2017},
}