The right attitude: gender, conservatism, and career choice
Despite reductions in overt sexism and structural barriers to the advancement of women in the workforce, differences in the representation of women and men in various careers remain. Specifically, women tend to be overrepresented in traditionally feminine careers, which also tend to be lower in prestige and pay. The present study explored potential gender-related barriers to women's advancement through examination of the perceptions of the femininity and masculinity of the RIASEC types (Holland, 1959; 1997). Specifically, the study sought to determine the role that the gender of the person portrayed in a career plays in the perceptions of the RIASEC types, as well as the contribution of the covariates right-wing authoritarianism, religious fundamentalism, and attitudes toward women. Participants were 334 university students who completed questionnaires and a card sort in which they sorted adjectives from the Bem Sex Role Inventory (Bem, 1981) to job descriptions representative of the RIASEC types. MANOVA and MANCOVA were used and gender and condition were found to have significant effects on the perceptions of the RIASEC types, while no significant covariates emerged. Implications of these results are discussed, including the fact that perceptions of the RIASEC types may be somewhat influenced by the gender of the person seen in the representative career.