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Turning the gender tables: evidence of students’ awareness of a reversal in gender status between academic and occupational contexts

Abstract : This study investigates young people’s awareness of gender differences in achievement and their reversal between educational and occupational contexts. Girls are generally more academically successful than boys but men still enjoy a superior position in the professional world. The present study therefore aimed to determine whether students were aware of a reversal in gender gap, and to explore whether the characteristics associated with high and low status groups (competence and warmth) are attributed to boys and girls in a way that is consistent with their perceived achievement-related status. From sixth grade to bachelor’s degree level, 638 students (347 girls and 290 boys, M(age) = 15.98) rated boys’ and girls’ academic status in middle school, high school and university, as well as men’s and women’s occupational status. They also assessed male and female students’ warmth and competence at their respective school levels. Overall, participants seemed to be aware of a reversal in gender status between educational contexts, where they attributed the highest status to girls, and the occupational context, in which men were perceived as having the highest status. The youngest students have a limited awareness of gender inequalities in the professional world suggesting that understanding of gender dynamics increases with age. Furthermore, female students were perceived as more competent but not necessarily warmer than male students, suggesting they might be considered as a non-traditional female subgroup. This set of perceptions might have different, yet important, implications for boys’ and girls’ educational and occupational experience and the maintenance of gender hierarchy.
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Contributor : Julie Pironom <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - 7:44:22 PM
Last modification on : Friday, February 26, 2021 - 3:06:45 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 7:02:53 PM


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Alyson Sicard, Delphine Martinot, Marie-Christine Toczek, Julie Pironom, Céline Darnon. Turning the gender tables: evidence of students’ awareness of a reversal in gender status between academic and occupational contexts. Social Psychology of Education, Springer Verlag, 2021, 24 (1), pp.247-272. ⟨10.1007/s11218-021-09607-0⟩. ⟨hal-03149862⟩



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