Study: Gender Norms Still Matter in Women’s Choice of College Major

Barbie has traded her swimsuit for a scientist’s jacket, Hollywood revealed that the Hidden Figures who helped put men on the moon were women, and more women work in jobs formerly dominated by men.

But when it comes to women’s choice of college major, traditional gender norms about femininity still matter, according to new research.

The study — by Ann Beutel and colleagues at the University of Oklahoma and published in Springer’s journal Gender Issues — shows that feminine norms steer women away from college majors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or doctoral track-medicine (pre-medicine).

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