Gender Inequalities in Higher Education : Extent, Development and Mechanisms of Gender Differences in Enrolment and Field of Study Choice

  • In the course of educational expansion, ‘gender differences in access to higher education have decreased substantially in many European countries. In Germany women are currently over-represented in upper secondary education and more frequently attain a general qu1alification for university entrance. Despite those advantages, women still enrol in higher education less frequently. Even where they apply to higher education, their field of study choices differ from those of men. Drawing on recent data on upper secondary graduates, we seek to understand which factors account for both phenomena. Our findings suggest that the growing gender gap in the transition to higher education can be largely ascribed to differential perceptions of labour market outcomes. In addition, the more risk-averse assessment of study costs and success probabilities are more important for women's decision not to enter higher education. Furthermore, the gender gap in the choice of a technical field can be explained by differences in the subjectively perceivedIn the course of educational expansion, ‘gender differences in access to higher education have decreased substantially in many European countries. In Germany women are currently over-represented in upper secondary education and more frequently attain a general qu1alification for university entrance. Despite those advantages, women still enrol in higher education less frequently. Even where they apply to higher education, their field of study choices differ from those of men. Drawing on recent data on upper secondary graduates, we seek to understand which factors account for both phenomena. Our findings suggest that the growing gender gap in the transition to higher education can be largely ascribed to differential perceptions of labour market outcomes. In addition, the more risk-averse assessment of study costs and success probabilities are more important for women's decision not to enter higher education. Furthermore, the gender gap in the choice of a technical field can be explained by differences in the subjectively perceived comparative advantage in technical skills and by differences in educational motivations and conceptions of life and career plans. These results lead to the conclusion that gendered educational choices are the consequence of effects that have their provenance much earlier in life.show moreshow less

Export metadata

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar
Metadaten
Institutes:Fakultät Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften / Juniorprofessur für Soziologie mit dem Schwerpunkt Bildung und Arbeit im Lebensverlauf
Author:Markus Lörz, Steffen Schindler, Jessica G. Walter
Title of the journal / compilation (English):Irish Educational Studies : IES
Publishing Institution:Educational Studies Association of Ireland : ESAI
Place of publication:London [u.a.]
Publisher:Routledge
Year of publication:2011
Issue:30 (2011), 2
Pages / Size:S. 181 - 193
Keywords:Gender Inequality; enrolment decision; field of study; higher education
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/03323315.2011.569139
ISSN:0332-3315
Document Type:Article in a journal
Language:English
Publishing Institution:Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg
Release Date:2014/03/17
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht