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Session Overview
RN10_07c_IC: Gender and Education II
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Dionysios Gouvias, University of the Aegean
Location: Intercontinental - Athenaeum CC III
Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel Syngrou Avenue 89-93 Athens, Greece Floor: Lobby Level

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Who thinks engineering is for men? Effects of gender and ambivalent sexism on occupational sex-typing

Dinah Gross

University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Teenagers’ gender and sex-typing of occupations contribute to circumscribing the occupations they aspire to, with the potential disadvantageous consequence of discouraging them from following educational or vocational tracks which they may have found fulfilling, but with which they do not identify from the point of view of gender stereotypes. However, little research has examined the determinants of occupational sex-typing. We consider how gender and benevolent and hostile sexism (based on the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory) influence the sex typing of six occupations among a sample of 3125 students in the last three years of obligatory school (12-15 years) in Switzerland. According to our findings, boys display more hostile sexism than girls and girls reveal more benevolent sexism than boys. Sexism affected attitudes towards the most sex-typed occupations: Boys’ hostile sexism emphasises the masculinity of male-dominated occupations, and their benevolent sexism has the same effect on the femininity of the female-dominated lower status occupation. Girls’ benevolent sexism endorses gender stereotypes about the most sex-typed occupations. Gender affects attitudes towards the less sex-typed occupations, boys tending to find them more masculine and girls more feminine. These findings show how gender roles and sexism contribute to reproduce a hierarchical and segregated view of occupations deemed appropriate to each gender.

Feeling more insecure than before: Women in academia in Turkey

Fatma Umut Bespinar, Ayse Idil Aybars

Middle East Technical University, Turkey

The current turbulent political context in Turkey has significant implications for universities and academic life, as well as for the broader context of gender equality, freedom and democracy in the country. Increasing terrorist attacks in urban centers, the coup attempt and following state of emergency, increasing pressures on universities, including abolishment of the electoral procedure for University Rectors, increasing hostility towards academics and universities that are perceived as oppositional, serious problems of freedom of expression in both academia and the media, all of which go hand in hand with an increasingly sexist political discourse, have all contributed to a worsening atmosphere in teaching and research practices as well as an insecure and pessimistic general mood in the academia in Turkey. This paper examines the reflections of the general socio-political context of increasing conservatism and authoritarianism in Turkey by focusing on the experiences of women academics in the public and private universities in Ankara. The main argument of the paper is that, while gender inequality is invisible, and indeed denied, in the Turkish academia due to factors such as institutional culture and the general political and social framing of gender issues in Turkey, the most recent political developments further increase the vulnerability of women academics, through its reflections on job insecurity and job losses, intervention on research subjects, restrictions in national research funding, and uncertainties in recruitment and promotion procedures, which deepen the disadvantages that women already face in academia.

Gender Inequalities in Choosing Engineering as a Major: Experiences from “Honey Bees are Becoming Engineers” Project

Esra Gedik1, Ezgi P. Kadayifci2

1Bozok University, Turkey; 2Middle East Technical University, Turkey

The situation of women in fields related to natural sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is one of the significant research topics of the 2000s. The main argument behind this agenda is that some professions traditionally considered to be suitable for women and some for men, due to gender stereotypes. It is also argued that provided the necessary social and economic conditions, women can accomplish as well as men do in mentioned fields. Engineering is one of these professions which is traditionally attributed to men. On the basis of these, the purpose of this study is to determine the factors that influence the choices of female students in high school as they choose engineering as a profession and how we can overcome gender inequalities in education on the basis of female high school students in Turkey.

The data set of this research is collected through a series of high school visits within the course of a project called Honey Bees are Becoming Engineers. We conducted surveys with 420 tenth grade female students in six high schools from selected cities of Turkey. As a result, we argue that female students do not choose to study engineering because of gendered prejudices and gendered stereotypes regarding engineering education and when their perspective change with a positive encouragement, they might consider choosing to engineer as a profession.

Key Words: Engineering, gender stereotypes, female students, high schools, Turkey.

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