ERIC Number: ED212849
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Pathways to Adulthood: Women and Their Career Choices.
Eisenhart, Margaret A.
Twelve black and 11 white women attending two state universities in the South were interviewed about their choice of majors and careers. The sample was selected through advertising on the campuses and was more heavily weighted with women who had chosen mathematics or scientific careers. It was found that there are common themes in the career pathways of the women, but blacks and whites choose somewhat different symbols to describe their career interests. In the first place, both groups report preferences for careers which are not emulations of occupations typically associated with women they have known. Secondly, the theme of independence means a career outside the home and opportunity to do what one likes. Third, college experiences are seen by both groups as a crucial phase of the career pathway, but for different reasons. Black women see college mainly as a time to obtain a credential that allows them to obtain a desirable job upon graduation, while for the white women, college is a time to explore various career possibilities in order to find the one most personally suitable. The black women most often justify their selection of a college major in terms of the financial rewards to be gained later on; the white women ground their choices in the potential for interest, challenge, and service to others in the future. Finally, neither group explicitly associates college career choice with gender role. It was concluded that the women lacked information about careers and what they really entail, leaving themselves open for the operation of subtle mechanisms, such as feedback, which can indirectly limit women's participation or interest in male-dominated careers. (KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association Conference (Los Angeles, CA, December 1981).