Women still gravitate to people-oriented rather professions despite the strides in ending gender stereotyping made since 1972, according to new research. Thing-oriented professions such as engineering continue to be heavily male-dominated. The Orange County Register reports on studies made by Richard A. Lippa, a professor of philosophy at California State University, Fullerton.

He and colleagues compiled data on women’s career interests since 1972. While it is true that there are more women in high-status occupations such as the law and banking, the “core, interesting finding is that there hasn’t been much of a change in this people-/thing-oriented dimension,” he told OCR Staff Writer Angie Marcos.

Gender socialization, biological factors and social stereotyping may all contribute to the constancy of women’s career choices over the past 39 years. “Boys are stereotypically more interested in construction trucks, sports and video games,” Lippa said. “Girls, on the other hand, often play more in small groups. They are more interested in socialization.”

It is also true that women exhibit broader interests than do men, who more likely to focus on fewer interests. Additionally, women tend to have more developed verbal abilities, which also may lead them to people-oriented fields such as teaching, Lippa said. But dissuading women from pursuing careers in thing-oriented fields means “losing half our potential.”

Share your thoughts on GlassCeiling.com. Are women over-represented in people-oriented professions as a result of nature or steering?


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