Parental gender attitudes associated with Japanese girls' reduced university participation | 4/21/2016 | Staff
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Parental agreement with girls’ choosing to study in each field. Parents were asked to respond about in general, not about their own daughter in particular. Credit: Ikkatai et al.

A group of University of Tokyo researchers and their colleagues suggest that stereotypical gender role attitudes and negative images of STEM fields of Japanese parents may be associated with girls' reduced university participation. Providing more information to parents about potential career paths in certain fields after university may be one way to overcome this hurdle.

Japan - Women - Participation - STEM - Science

In Japan, women's participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields remains lower than in the west. Japan ranked 110 out of 149 countries on a 2018 gender-gap survey, underscoring Japanese women's limited participation in the economy and government. However, despite multiple government and industry initiatives, encouraging greater participation across society is challenging in a country where gender role divisions are deeply entrenched.

It is known that parents have significant influence on their children's choice of university field and career. As part of a larger research project looking at why so few women in Japan choose STEM fields at university, a group led by Professor Hiromi Yokoyama at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe looked at parental influence on girls' choice of university subject.

Measure - Gender - Role - Attitudes - SESRA-S

"We used a psychological measure of gender role attitudes called SESRA-S to measure parental attitudes, and then looked at how parents felt about girls choosing a range of different fields," said Yokoyama. "However, we were interested not just in whether they supported girls choosing STEM subjects. We wanted to know why they supported or opposed girls participating in those fields, and also what image they held of each field. We expected that there might be some differences."

The group used an online survey to canvas 618...
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