High school students' occupational interest as a function of projected sex ratios in male-dominated occupations

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To demonstrate that the sexual composition of a field influences a woman's career interests and preferences, a study was designed to determine the effects of projected shifts in the sexual composition of 2 occupations presently dominated by males. 144 male and female high school students were led to believe that the proportion of women in one of those occupations would be 10% (token), 30% (minority), or 50% (equal) in 15 yrs. Results indicate that, as predicted, projections of more-balanced sex ratios encouraged greater occupational interest among women; however, a totally balanced sex ratio was shown to reduce the degree of occupational interest expressed by men. (6 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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