Indexed on: 21 Aug '01Published on: 21 Aug '01Published in: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Past work shows that even young children know that occupations are differentially linked to men and women in our society. In our research, we studied whether 6- and 11-year-old children's (a) beliefs about job status and (b) job interests would be affected by the gendered nature of jobs. When asked about familiar occupations, children gave higher status ratings to masculine jobs and expressed greater interest in jobs culturally associated with their own sex. To circumvent the extant confounds between job gender and job status in our culture, we also developed a new methodology in which novel jobs were portrayed with either male or female workers. Older children rated novel jobs portrayed with male workers as having higher status than the identical jobs portrayed with female workers. Portrayal sex had no effect on children's own interests in these novel jobs at either age. Methodological, theoretical, and educational issues are discussed in relation to sex-role development and vocational aspirations.