Recent Award

Educational Pathways to Science and Other Careers for Academically Talented Women

The overall goal of this research project is to determine how growing opportunity for women to have careers in the professions and business as well in science is affecting the decision process about college major and the choice of future career for academically-talented high school and college women as well as the broader population of college oriented women. We will disentangle the impact of perceived difficulties in combining family and work in a science career from the intrinsic interest factors that arguably play a strong role in the determination of college major and subsequent career. We also will estimate the extent to which career-family incompatibility differs between the areas of science where women have made the least progress (physical science and engineering) and other areas of science, business, and elite professions (i.e., law, medicine, dentistry and other elite professions) where women have made significant progress. We will compare field-specific estimates of actual (and possibly changing) incompatibility between career and family with the perceptions of women about career-family incompatibility that are revealed in the choice behaviors of women while in school. Finally, we will establish whether high schools that have strong curricula in math and science do a better job in pointing women towards science careers, whether these effects persist over the educational career, and whether changes in the proportion of high schools with strong math and science curricula have helped to stimulate the growing proportion of women who have pursued science careers over the past twenty five years. Our study is important for a proper understanding of the female shortfall in science (particularly in the physical sciences and engineering) and the likely prognosis for future trends.
The overall goal of this research project is to determine how growing opportunity for women to have careers in the professions and business as well in science is affecting the decision process about college major and the choice of future career for academically-talented high school and college women. We will disentangle the impact of perceived difficulties in combining family and work in a science career from the intrinsic interest factors that arguably play a strong role in the determination of college major and subsequent career. Our study has important implications for public health because academically talented high school women are a major potential source of future scientists in health-related areas, and greater knowledge about the factors that affect their career choices can lead to policies to ensure an adequate supply of health scientists to fill America's future needs.

Principal Investigator: 

Home Department: 

Date: 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 to Friday, August 31, 2012

Research Category: 

Amount: 

$313,838

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