Class norms and gender determine adolescents' career choices
On April 7 2020, Dinah Gross brilliantly defended her thesis entitled "How gender and class norms shape our worldview: Occupational representations of teenagers in Switzerland" at the University of Lausanne. This work focused on adolescents' representations of professions in terms of gender and prestige.
Sex-type and prestige are two elements that are usually considered to be a founding factor in terms of professional aspirations. Using a questionnaire that surveyed 3125 young people aged 12 to 15 and their parents in Switzerland, Dinah Gross was able to examine how these professional representations vary according to social parameters and how they influence the future career aspirations of these young people.
She was able to show that gender representations of occupations vary according to the sex, gender identity and sexism of the participants. The result is a hierarchical and segregated perception of which occupations are considered suitable for each sex. This perception is in part inherited from parents through the transmission of attitudes and representations. This work also shows that the theory of circumscription and compromise (Gottfredson), indicating that young people choose their future profession following a circumscription process of acceptable alternatives in terms of sex, prestige and difficulty, is unreliable. Indeed, prestige, as well as difficulty, do not seem to be adequate dimensions to predict the future career orientation of young people.
LIVES offers a Doctoral Programme which is primarily designed for doctoral students in the social sciences and psychology who integrate a life course perspective into their work. This programme aims at promoting courses that lead to quality doctorates within a reasonable time frame and to professional integration, particularly in academic careers.