Educational Inequalities in the Access to Higher Education at the Intersection of Gender and Migrant Background: Results from Switzerland, Germany and France

Monday, July 14, 2014: 11:30 AM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Dorit GRIGA , Sociology of Education, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

Gender inequalities as well as migrant-related inequalities in education have been profoundly analysed in sociology during the last decades. While gender inequalities were shown to have been reversed during the last decades (Buchmann et al. 2008), youths with a migrant background appeared to generally perform lower in most European educational systems (Heath et al 2008). However if it is controlled for social origin and school performance – and in line with migrants’ higher educational aspirations - many studies reveal increased transitions of migrant youths to the more demanding educational tracks available to them (Jackson et al. 2012).

In spite of these studies, the question of a possible interaction between gender and migrant background has been rarely investigated so far (e.g. Fleischmann und Kristen 2011). Given this lack of research, the paper focuses on such educational inequalities at the intersection of gender and migrant background at the transition to higher education.

In order to formulate the theoretical expectations, we refer to decision theory. At the core of the analysis stands a comparison of Switzerland (datasource: TREE), Germany (HIS-Studienberechtigte 2002) and France (Panel d'élèves du second degré 1995). Multivariate regression models were run in order to investigate the research questions.

Preliminary results indicate increased transition rates to Higher Education for second-generation males from some socially disadvantaged migrant groups for Switzerland and Germany, if controlled for social origin. A deeper analysis for Switzerland thereby also reveals that such advantages are largely driven by the high occupational aspirations these males pursue.

However, the assumption that second-generation females originating from countries characterised by a rather patriarchal culture would encounter disadvantages at the transition to higher education was not backed by the data for none of the countries under consideration.