WHY ARE GIRLS NOT BECOMING SCIENTISTS? USING CIRCUMSCRIPTION AND COMPROMISE CAREER DEVELOPMENT THEORY TO ANALYZE GENDERED SCIENCE CAREER ASPIRATIONS

Lee Kenneth Jones, Rebecca L. Hite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Science career aspirations are decreasing among K-12 students, especially among girls who are underrepresented in physical science, computer science, and engineering fields. To explore why girls may perceive science careers as non-viable options for future employment, this study applied Gottfredson’s Theory of Circumscription and Compromise of career development (C&C theory) to an international Draw-a-Scientist Test sampling to explore K-12 students’ perceptions of science and scientists as future careers. Per Gottfredson, C&C theory is a useful model to understand how individuals consider certain careers from childhood to adolescence and early adulthood. Her theory posits that children developmentally orient themselves towards a future career through iterative thinking sourced from their society. Specifically, children circumscribe or eliminate future participation in various careers until they accommodate their thinking (compromise) into an acceptable profession. This study modeled how girls (N = 794) circumscribed science careers over time (by age and C&C theoretical constructs) within an international sample of developed nations (U.S., Japan, Korea) that have gender inequality in science careers. Results evidenced that these girls were more likely to circumscribe (dismiss) science careers, compared to boys, and at very early ages (stages 1 and 2). Further, analyses indicated stage 3 (ages 9 to 13) are vital times in a girl’s education to promote science as a career, such to diminish the perception of scientists as unachievably intelligent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Career development
  • Circumscription and compromise theory
  • Drawa-a-scientist test
  • Gender

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