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ESRC Gender Equality Network GeNet Project 2: Biographical Agency and Developmental Outcomes Ingrid Schoon, Andy Ross, Peter Martin, and Steven Hope City.

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Presentation on theme: "ESRC Gender Equality Network GeNet Project 2: Biographical Agency and Developmental Outcomes Ingrid Schoon, Andy Ross, Peter Martin, and Steven Hope City."— Presentation transcript:

1 ESRC Gender Equality Network GeNet Project 2: Biographical Agency and Developmental Outcomes Ingrid Schoon, Andy Ross, Peter Martin, and Steven Hope City University, London ESRC Gender Network Conference, Cambridge, 14 December 2006

2 Biographical Agency Refers to the relationship between social structure, individual aspirations, and development At transition points in the life course individuals are required to act with awareness regarding alternatives and make decisions about the future based on previous experiences The resulting decisions are representative of social contexts, opportunities, and role expectations (Walter Heinz, 2002)

3 Aims of the project Using longitudinal data this project aims to: Investigate changes in aspirations and life plans of men and women growing up in different socio-historical contexts Examine gender differences in aspirations for the future Investigate gender differences in factors shaping the formation of individual life plans Document and classify gender-specific differences in the transition from adolescence to adulthood, taking into account linked outcomes in education, training, work, and family formation Analyse to what extent adult attainments are influenced by personal agency, gender, the socio-historical context, and by the interaction of both

4 Changes in teenage aspirations - education - occupation

5 Schoon, 2006

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8 The Aspiration Gradient: Teenage aspirations by early social risk

9 Gender Differences in ability self-concepts and values Gender Roles Cultural Stereotypes Socialisation Pressures

10 Ability Self Concepts (NCDS age 16) Self rating: % above average ability See also: Schoon et al. (forthcoming): Equal Opportunities International

11 Teachers Ability Concepts (NCDS age 16) Teacher rating: % above average ability

12 Gendered Choices (NCDS at age 16) Most important thing about a job MaleFemale Involves variety19%25% Well paid work24%17% Helping others4%20% Schoon, Ross, Martin (paper presented at the ESRC science week, Cambridge, March 2006)

13 Gendered Choices (BCS70 at age 16) Most important thing about a job MaleFemale Involves variety68%73% Well paid work52%30% Helping others36%52% Schoon, Ross, Martin (paper presented at the ESRC science week, Cambridge, March 2006)

14 Gender differences in career transitions Evidence from two British Birth Cohorts

15 Developmental-Contextual model of career development Aims to uncover processes by which families and the larger societal context influence individual commitment and pursuit of a career Examines multiple pathways shaping career development in men and women Replication of model in two birth cohorts Testing for gender and cohort differences in pathway coefficients

16 Developmental-Contextual Model of Career Development Birth Age 16 Age 30/33 Parental Social Class Material Hardship Parental Educational Expectations School Motivation Job aspirations Exam Score Age at first birth Own occupational status Family background Individual agency factors Parenthood histories Adult occupational attainment Proximal family environment Schoon, Martin, Ross (in press), JVB

17 Findings Persisting influence of social origin on occupational opportunities and life chances Influence of social background is mediated via socialisation experiences in the family Transition specific parent-child interactions foster more adaptive outcomes Career development takes place within a life planning framework Men and women becoming parents early are at risk for adverse outcomes regarding education and employment For women the roles as mother and worker are interdependent and in conflict, while for men these roles are more independent and easier to combine

18 Gendered Careers Careers in Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET)

19 Contextual-developmental model of career development Family Background Personal assets School experiences Career choice Adult Occupational Status BirthChildhood AdolescenceAdulthood Schoon et al., (forthcoming). Equal Opportunities International

20 SET aspirations at age 16 and SET occupations in early 30s Schoon et al., (forthcoming). Equal Opportunities International

21 Predictors of career development Focus on science-related occupations Family background Parental social class Parental education Parental expectations regarding further education Mothers employment Personal Assets Reading at 11 and 16 Maths at 11 and 16 Self rated math ability School motivation School experience Nr of science related subjects Teachers general ability rating Teacher rating of math ability School type Single sex school Career Choice Educational plans Job aspirations

22 Predicting entry into a science-related career Aspirations in adolescence vital predictor Interest and attachment to a science-related career are formed early in life School experiences are crucial in attracting young people to a career in science: Teachers maths ratings Number of science subjects entered School environment can compensate for family disadvantage and lack of opportunities

23 Summary Persisting gender and social differences in occupational choice and career development Gender cannot be seen in isolation from other facets of identity, such as social origin or social change Aspirations and transitions are not individualised choices, but remain circumscribed by gender, social background, and the wider socio-historical context Timing is a crucial aspect in the planning- performance-outcome sequence

24 Conclusion The role of contextual factors in determining transitions calls for improved opportunity structures and support systems: – support for parents experiencing hardship – improved school environment, in particular teacher-pupil interactions – arrangements to facilitate combination of multiple social roles

25 References Schoon, I. (2006). Risk and Resilience: Adaptations to changing times. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Schoon, I., Martin, P. & Ross, A. (in press). Gender differences in transition pathways and adult attainments in work and family roles. Evidence from two British Birth Cohorts. Journal of Vocational Behaviour Schoon, I. (in press). Adaptations to changing times. Evidence from two British Birth Cohorts. International Journal of Psychology Schoon, I. (forthcoming). Life chances and opportunities in times of social change: Evidence from two British Birth Cohorts. In: Silbereisen, R.K. & Lerner, R.M (Eds.). Approaches to positive Youth Development. London: Sage Schoon, I., Ross, A. & Martin, P. (forthcoming). Science related careers: Aspirations and outcomes in two British Birth Cohorts. Equal Opportunities International

26 Thank you


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