Characteristics of Female Students Who Aspire to Science and Engineering or Homemaking Occupations

By Mau, Wei-Cheng; Domnick, Margaret et al. | Career Development Quarterly, June 1995 | Go to article overview

Characteristics of Female Students Who Aspire to Science and Engineering or Homemaking Occupations


Mau, Wei-Cheng, Domnick, Margaret, Ellsworth, Randolph A., Career Development Quarterly


This study identified predictors that discriminated between nontraditional and traditional career aspirations in a sample composed of 930 eighth-grade female students (52 Asian Americans, 123 Hispanics, 61 African Americans, 669 Whites, and 15 Native Americans). Results indicated that the students who aspired to careers in science or engineering scored significantly higher on educational aspirations; perceived parental expectations; student-reported grade point averages (GPAs); and mathematics, reading, and science test scores than did girls who aspired to homemaking occupations. They also scored higher on measures of self-esteem, internal locus of control, socioeconomic status, and had fewer siblings. Educational aspirations, parental expectations, self-reported GPA, and science proficiency were the best discriminators between the groups. Results also indicated that differences in the distributions of career aspirations across racial-ethnic groups were significant.

Nontraditional occupations have been defined as those having less than 30% to 34% women among their ranks (Hayes, 1985). Science, engineering, technical, and managerial occupations typically meet this definition. The underrepresentation of women in these male-dominated occupations has prompted numerous researchers to study the characteristics of women who work in nontraditional occupations. Baker (1987) and MacCorquodale (1984) reported that nontraditional career-oriented women described themselves as self-confident, very competitive, and either highly independent or highly dependent. Other nontraditional career-oriented women indicated that they received direct encouragement from teachers, counselors, and significant others (e.g., Dick & Rallis, 1991; Fitzpatrick & Silverman, 1989; Sloat, 1990); have working mothers as role models (Almquist, 1974); have parents with higher education and occupational levels (McKenna & Ferrero, 1991); and come from higher socioeconomic level homes (Berman, 1972; McKenna & Ferrero, 1991). Women aspiring to nontraditional careers are often firstborn or only children (McKenna & Ferrero, 1991; Rea-Poteat & Martin, 1991), hold fewer traditional attitudes toward women, and perceive less conflict between combining work and family (Murrell, Frieze, & Frost, 1991; Rubenfeld & Gilroy, 1991). The more stereotypical masculine characteristics (as defined by Bem, 1974) a woman perceives herself to have, the more likely she is to choose a nontraditional career (Baker, 1987).

The aforementioned findings provide rather simplistic descriptions and are not as conclusive as they might seem to be (Herr & Cramer, 1988). The studies provide information about variables associated with women's aspirations to nontraditional careers, but give no information about the significance of each variable in comparison with the others and do not indicate how these variables interrelate and contribute to the choices that women make when choosing nontraditional occupations.

This investigation differs in several ways from previous studies dealing with career aspirations. First, most previous studies focused on working women (e.g., Berman, 1972; Mazen & Lemkau, 1990; Stewart, 1989) whereas in this study, "occupation aspired to" rather than "occupation entered" is used as a criterion. Pryor (1981) and others (Haring & Beyard-Tyler, 1984; Pryor & Taylor, 1986) have argued that "expressed choice" has more "psychological utility" than the more commonly used criterion of occupational entry, Expressed choice or aspired occupation is a psychological criterion, which represents an individual's career choice before consideration of situational variables such as job availability or financial responsibility.

Second, eighth-grade girls' aspirations were studied. Most of the research investigating nontraditional careers focused on high school students or college-age students. Eighth-grade students typically are in the crucial stage of exploring self and the world of work (Super, 1969). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Characteristics of Female Students Who Aspire to Science and Engineering or Homemaking Occupations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.