Gender – Work Package 2

Gender-driven choices in technical and vocational secondary education in Flanders
Supervisors: prof. dr. Patrizia Zanoni & prof. dr. Dimitri Mortelmans
Researcher: Nico Steegmans

In most EU-countries, including Belgium, the distribution of students in secondary education mirrors traditional gender roles. There is still a large gap between boys’ and girls’ areas and topics, with girls largely choosing study areas leading to ‘female’ occupations and boys choosing ‘male’ ones. This gender segregation is particularly pronounced in vocational and technical programmes and schools.

Gender segregation is highly problematic in two ways. First, at the individual level, segregation indicates that young individuals’ educational and career options are limited to those that are socially acceptable for their gender. Second, at the level of the labour market, early segregation is likely to hamper the optimal allocation of human potential and talents.

Our main research question is: What is the role of (internalized) gendered images and stereotypes related to study subjects and occupations in students’ educational choices? We investigate the decision-making process retrospectively through a written questionnaire, studying the school population of the third year of high school in a sample of technical and vocational secondary schools.

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