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ERIC Number: ED539659
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 193
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2671-3687-9
Three Essays on Cross-National Gender Gaps in Education
McDaniel, Anne Elizabeth
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ohio State University
In recent decades, a dramatic shift occurred in higher education throughout the world. For the first time in history, women enroll in and complete more education than men in many countries, yet little is known about the causes of this striking change. Currently women comprise half of all students enrolled in higher education around the world. Yet women's progress in education has been uneven, and fields of study remain highly sex segregated. Women earn 30 percent of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees cross-nationally. Education exerts an enormous influence on individual's life outcomes and society's progress; therefore understanding gender inequalities in education is crucial. Why are women earning more education than men around the world? And why are men over-represented in STEM fields? My dissertation uses three distinct approaches to answer these questions. First, I identify the forces that are driving variations in the size of women's share of enrollment in higher education cross-nationally. Analyzing country-level data from 131 countries, I find that countries with greater linkages to the world polity, more liberal ideologies and support for women's rights as well as more rapid educational expansion are associated with a larger share of women enrolled in higher education. But, I find that features of a country's labor market and fertility norms are the strongest predictors of the gender gap in tertiary enrollment. Countries with larger percentages of the labor force working the service sector, a larger share of women working in professional occupations and lower fertility rates are associated with a larger share of women enrolled in higher education. Second, I establish the relationships among national contexts and individual's backgrounds that determine gender gaps in educational attainment across 37 European countries. Using multi-level modeling, I find that men are more vulnerable to growing up in homes with absent fathers or low-educated parents, and this contributes to their lower likelihood of completing a university degree. Furthermore, men's educational attainment is strongly affected by a country's labor market. In countries with larger industrial sectors and trade unions, men's likelihood of completing university is lower. For women, educational expansion increases university completion. In countries where education systems expanded more rapidly, women are more likely to complete a university degree. Third, I investigate why adolescent girls are less likely to expect to work in a STEM occupation compared to boys across 30 European countries. I find that boys are more likely to expect to work in STEM careers because of their higher perceived science ability, enjoyment of science and math ability compared to girls. Women's status and gender ideologies within a country affect the male-favorable gender gap in STEM career expectations. In countries where men's and women's positions are more equal in education, the labor market and politics, the gender gap in STEM career expectations in smaller. In countries with more traditional attitudes towards women's role as mothers, the gender gap in STEM career expectations is larger. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A