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Is There A Correlation Between Gender And The Choice Of A College Major?

2730 words - 11 pages

Have you ever wondered whether or not there was any correlation between gender and college major? We conducted a survey consisting of 105 people (51 males and 54 females) and of those people, 34.3% (17 males and 19 females) did not think that there was a direct correlation between the two. Our goal was to see if gender did in fact influence one’s choice of major, or if it had no influence at all. After proper surveying and thorough analysis of literature, we found that both female and male students generally have college majors concentrated in certain areas and industries.
Literature Review
Females:
Through survey analysis and exploration of literature, we found that there was a correlation between females and college major choice. Our survey results signified that the majority of participants believe Textiles and Psychology are the most popular majors for females. The majority of participants reported that they believe the most popular major for males is Engineering. This indicates that people are aware of the gender gap between majors. We found that out of our sample of 105 participants, only one female was in Engineering, and one of the most popular majors for females was Textiles.
We found literature that supported our survey results. The article, “Inequality quantified: Mind the gender gap,” shows that an established gender gap amongst college majors may have started years ago. In the 1970s, Lynne Kiorpes was one of the few females at Northeastern University who was an Engineering major. Her professor discriminated against her and the other few women in the class by saying that they have no business being in his class, and that he was going to fail them just because they are females. Kiorpes then left the engineering program and switched her major to psychology (Shen, 2013). The article said that the reason women tend to choose female dominated majors is because they do not feel a sense of belonging in male dominated majors because “they do not see people like them.” (Shen, 2013) Another article showed similar findings, “If women initially choose to major in engineering, they are more likely than men to switch away from this field” (Dickson, 2010). Both of these articles are accurate examples as to a potential reason of females having specific college majors.
Social norms may have an impact on college major choice for women as well. Women tend to be less motivated by the promise of monetary success and more by their passions. Our survey results supported this social norm because the vast majority of females said that they chose their major because they enjoy that field of study, whereas the vast majority of males said they chose their major to obtain a high salary.
Males:
Through thorough research and survey analysis we were able to conclude that there tends to be a higher population of male students pursuing Engineering and Business majors compared to all other college majors. Not only is this true at North Carolina State University,...

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