Links between family gender socialization experiences in childhood and gendered occupational attainment in young adulthood

Katie M. Lawson, Ann C. Crouter, Susan M. McHale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gendered occupational segregation remains prevalent across the world. Although research has examined factors contributing to the low number of women in male-typed occupations - namely science, technology, engineering, and math - little longitudinal research has examined the role of childhood experiences in both young women's and men's later gendered occupational attainment. This study addressed this gap in the literature by examining family gender socialization experiences in middle childhood - namely parents' attitudes and work and family life - as contributors to the gender typicality of occupational attainment in young adulthood. Using data collected from mothers, fathers, and children over approximately 15. years, the results revealed that the associations between childhood socialization experiences (~. 10. years old) and occupational attainment (~. 26. years old) depended on the sex of the child. For sons but not daughters, mothers' more traditional attitudes toward women's roles predicted attaining more gender-typed occupations. In addition, spending more time with fathers in childhood predicted daughters attaining less and sons acquiring more gender-typed occupations in young adulthood. Overall, evidence supports the idea that childhood socialization experiences help to shape individuals' career attainment and thus contribute to gender segregation in the labor market.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-35
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Volume90
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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