Missing Women in STEM in China: A Micro-Level Explanation from Achievement Motivation and Gender Socialization

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:50
Oral Presentation
Xueyan YANG, Xi'an Jiaotong University, China
Chenzhuo GAO, The Institute for Population and Development Studies,Xi'an Jiaotong University, China
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields have long been dominated by males. Although women are increasingly earning advanced degrees in STEM majors, they remain under-represented in these fields. An empirical study was undertaken to explain a phenomenon of “missing women in STEM in China” from achievement motivation and gender socialization, using the data from the Third National Survey on the Social Status of Chinese Women. Results showed that the phenomenon was due to lower achievement motivation of women than that of men in STEM majors. The lower achievement motivation made lower professional commitment among women in STEM field. The gender differences were gradually shaped by the two stages of gender socialization. There were significantly negative impacts of the lower career expectations from parents and gender stereotypes from culture on women’s achievement motivation. The gender stereotypes from schools greatly promoted male students’ achievement motivation while having no significant impact on female students’ achievement motivation. The traditional gender role attitudes hindered the advance of women’s achievement motivation. Therefore, in order to stop the outflow of women from STEM majors, equal gender atmosphere should be created in families, schools and society. It may decrease the gender discrimination during the gender socialization and promote achievement motivation among women.