Tech-savvy men and caring women: Middle school students’ gender stereotypes predict interest in tech-education

Una Tellhed, Fredrik Björklund, Kalle Kallio Strand

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


The labor market is strongly gender segregated with few women working in the tech sector (e.g. IT) and few men working in the care sector (e.g. nursing). We tested the hypothesis that middle school students strongly associate technology with men and caregiving with women, and that this relates to girls’ lower interest in tech-focused educations. We measured technology/caregiving gender stereotypes with implicit (the Implicit Association Test) and explicit (self-report) measures in a sample of Swedish middle school students (n = 873). The results supported the hypothesis, and corroborate Eccles’s expectancy value theory, which suggests that gender stereotypes cause barriers for women to make career choices which suits them as individuals. A sample of middle school teachers (n = 86) showed even stronger implicit gender stereotypes than the students. This is worrying since teachers may unintentionally convey gender stereotypes in their teaching. Unexpectedly, the middle school girls with a foreign background showed no implicit gender stereotypes, which we discuss in relation to the gender-equality paradox. We suggest that to fulfill the recruitment needs of an increasingly digitalized world, the tech-industry and other stakeholders should put effort into counteracting the stereotype that technology is for men.
Sidor (från-till)307-325
Antal sidor19
TidskriftSex Roles: A Journal of Research
Tidigt onlinedatum2023 mars 11
StatusPublished - 2023 mars 11

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Psykologi (exklusive tillämpad psykologi)


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