Gender, Competitiveness, and Intentions to Pursue STEM Fields

Catherine Riegle-Crumb, Menglu Peng, Jenny Buontempo

Abstract


Building on the insights of gender theorists as well as a small body of emerging quantitative research, the authors examine whether and how a preference for competition is related to gendered patterns of future STEM expectations among a sample of high school students. Results of regression analyses reveal that female students’ relatively lower preference for competition (compared to male students) significantly contributes to their lower expectation of majoring in two historically male-dominated fields, physical science and engineering. Additional results revealed an interaction between gender and competitiveness for expectations to major in computer science, such that while girls’ expectations significantly increase with their level of competitiveness, boys’ decisions to pursue computer science are unrelated to their preference for competition.


Keywords


gender, expectations, competition

Full Text:

PDF