When both female and male college students say that they want to pursue a major with the best earnings prospects, the majors' men choose are higher paying than the majors women choose.
A new study attempted to understand the reason behind it. The findings reveal that "the logics of major choice" may lead women to select different majors from men. Despite both have similar preferences.
The study was conducted by Natasha Quadlin, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Ohio State University and appears online in the journal Sociology of Education.
The data for the study was from the Pathways through College Study. It surveyed 2,720 students from three higher education institutions that had programs intended to attract and retain STEM majors.
Four important considerations behind selecting a major were enlisted - money earned, career options, engaging classes, and helping others. Each student under the survey was then asked to rate these considerations on a scale of 1 to 5. It was done during their first term.
The surveyed students were later reported which major they selected. To examine the earnings associated with each major federal data was used.
The co-relation found that the major men choose are associated with significantly higher earning than the major women choose regardless of their preferences.
The author tried to understand that when men and women both prioritize economic returns in their preferences for a major, then why do women choose different majors from men, even when they share the same preferences?
One of the reasons could be what job they think are realistic for them. Previous research had claimed that for men and women their ideas differ on type of careers that are open and available to them. Women might not find some of the high paying STEM careers as receptive while men could find them receptive on the contrary.
Thus, one may not be able to attract women to a STEM job only because it's high paying rather the culture around STEM jobs has to be changed so that women feel the field is open and receptive to them.
Tags : Women's Education,