Women are still in the minority in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields in many countries, including Japan. Parental gender role attitudes are a potential influence on whether high school girls choose STEM fields and which fields they choose. However, this has not yet been closely examined in the Japanese context. We used an online questionnaire to investigate whether parental agreement regarding girls’ choice of STEM fields was affected by stereotypical parental gender role attitudes. We found that Japanese parents with egalitarian gender role attitudes generally agreed with girls’ freedom to choose their field of study (not just limited to STEM fields). Parents that agreed thought that girls could find employment across all fields. However, parents that disagreed expressed a variety of reasons, including negative perceptions of STEM fields such as lack of employment opportunities (biology, mathematics, physics and information science) and unsuitability for women (engineering). These results suggest that improving such field-specific negative perceptions may contribute to increase parental support for girls’ choice of STEM fields.
Yuko Ikkatai, Atsushi Inoue, Kei Kano, Azusa Minamizaki, Euan McKay & Hiromi M. Yokoyama, “Parental egalitarian attitudes towards gender roles affect agreement on girls taking STEM fields at university in Japan” International Journal of Science Education 16 Oct 2019 doi:10.1080/09500693.2019.1671635