Gender and Choice in Education and Occupation

Gender and Choice in Education and Occupation

Gender and Choice in Education and Occupation

Gender and Choice in Education and Occupation


Gender and Choice in Education and Occupation challenges the myth of androgynous work and presents cutting-edge research on "brainsex" and its effects on personality, education and choice. It examines intra-sex differences as well as male-female differences and similarities, and targets job attributes, work flexibility, long term life planning, home-work conflict, prestige versus occupational interest, and intrinsic motivational mechanisms to explain the relative failure of intervention policies to date.


John Radford

We have it on no less authority than that of Counsellor Deanna Troi of the Starship Enterprise (Next Generation version) that ‘despite centuries of evolution, some behaviour is still gender-linked’. It is perhaps not so surprising that she and Beverley Crusher, the ship’s doctor, are the only female bridge officers on board—at least for most of the voyages. To begin with, the security officer also was a woman, Tasha Yar, but she served for less than a year (star time) before perishing in the line of duty, to be replaced by the ultra-macho Klingon, Worf. This is the second version of the Enterprise; in the first, under Captain Kirk, the only woman on the bridge is Lt. Uhura, the communications officer (superior female verbal ability?). In a further spin-off, (Voyager), the captain is a woman. So we go on.

Like much science fiction, Star Trek, which is reputed to be broadcast somewhere in the world every moment of every day, continuously year on year, in many ways reflects our own cultural assumptions rather than imaginary ones. Troi is a qualified psychologist, although the psychology taught at Betazed University where she graduated about 2357 seems to be some way behind our own, emphasising mainly the need to express one’s emotions. Twentieth-century research suggests that gender differences in behaviour might actually be the result of evolution, at least partially. On the other hand, there are certainly widely held views that would include the notion of counselling and medicine as being much more ‘suitable’ jobs for women than security officer (though Crusher and Troi are mighty handy with their phasers on occasion).

In all human societies that we know of, men and women have generally been brought up and educated differently, and have tended to follow different occupations. The rigidity of the distinction has varied greatly, as has the degree of overlap. Without much doubt, on the whole the range of opportunity available to women has been less than that for men, although it has not always been the case that women have necessarily been disadvantaged. Our own society has really quite recently come to see dissimilar treatment as wrong, and much effort has gone into changing it. Yet marked differences still persist. A large literature has appeared, some of it attempting to elucidate the reasons behind these patterns, but perhaps even more devoted mainly to decrying them. This book is intended

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