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Title: The influence of gender beliefs and early exposure to math, science and technology in female degree choices
Author: Rojas Blanco, Laura Cristina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 3501
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2013
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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.
Supervisor: Mumford, Karen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available