If you thought it was sexist to assume that girls aren't good at science, maybe you should think again (though stereotypes are dangerous and there are certainly many, many exceptions).
A recent study in the journal Hormones and Behavior found that genetics play a key role in the career choices we make. In short, men become astronauts and women prefer nursing because of our biological nature, not environmental factors.
In our society, males are more likely to work in fields dealing with "things" like science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); whereas women lead the ranks in creative careers and those based on serving people. That's just the way things are — but is it based on sexism, which is a social construct, or is there a biological reason? Women Are Choosing Love Over Math & Science Careers
A team from Penn State University studied teenagers and young adults with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) — a genetic condition — and their siblings without the condition. While in the uterus, those with CAH have more exposure to the male sex hormone called androgen than is normal. Females with CAH are genetically female, but their interests tend to be more "trucks" than "Barbie." So when it comes to choosing a career, these women prefer jobs related to "things" rather than "people," as opposed to most females. Win $550 Worth Of Luxury Goods From Henri Bendel!
"We found there is a biological influence on that interest toward things, so maybe women aren't going into STEM careers because what they're interested in—people—isn't consistent with an interest in STEM careers," researchers said. "Maybe we could show females ways in which an interest in people is compatible with STEM careers."
Other research shows that women, on an unconscious level, steer away from STEM careers because they think it will make them unattractive to men. So which one is it: Genetics or environmental conditioning?
Do you think it's important to encourage more girls to go into the sciences? How do you and your partner differ on career preferences?