Girls in STEM: Is It a Female Role Model Thing?

43 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2020

See all articles by Susana Gonzalez

Susana Gonzalez

Universidad San Pablo CEU

Ruth Mateos de Cabo

Universidad San Pablo CEU

Milagros Sáinz

Open University of Catalunya (UOC) (Open University of Catalonia), Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), Students

Date Written: February 20, 2020

Abstract

Women are underrepresented in some STEM careers, such as engineering. Given that digital transformation offers new job opportunities, this scarcity makes women in STEM fields face new challenges that can marginalize them even more from economic advancement. In this research, the Expectancy-Value Theory of Achievement Motivation is applied to the choice of a STEM career among girls. The extent to which a female role models–based intervention improves girls’ beliefs that they can be successful in STEM fields and increases their likelihood to choose a STEM career is tested. A multigroup SEM analysis showed that the role model intervention had a positive and significant impact on several motivational indicators (i.e., Enjoyment, Importance, Expectations of success) and on girls’ aspirations in STEM but a negative effect on gender stereotypes. Similarly, moderation effects showed that the influence of expectations of success in STEM choices significantly increases, and so does the negative impact that stereotypes have on importance. Finally, the informative content of the role model sessions is a strength moderator since highly informative sessions significantly strengthened the relationship between expectations of success and the choice of STEM. Implications of these results are discussed for long-term engagement and STEM career selection for female adolescents.

Keywords: Gender STEM, Role models, Stereotypes, Expectancy-value theory, Career choice

JEL Classification: M14, M50, I24, C39

Suggested Citation

Gonzalez, Susana and Mateos de Cabo, Ruth and Sáinz, Milagros, Girls in STEM: Is It a Female Role Model Thing? (February 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3541939 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3541939

Susana Gonzalez

Universidad San Pablo CEU ( email )

Issac Peral, 58
28040 Madrid, 28003
United States

Ruth Mateos de Cabo (Contact Author)

Universidad San Pablo CEU ( email )

Julián Romea, 23
28003 Madrid, 28003
Spain

Milagros Sáinz

Open University of Catalunya (UOC) (Open University of Catalonia), Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), Students ( email )

Barcelona
Spain

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