General News, Helpless Genderists: The mainstream dwindles when it comes to career choices, 17.10.2014

Helpless Genderists: The mainstream dwindles when it comes to career choices


Do young women choose the "wrong" professions? Industry lobbyists, the labor market and equality politicians are convinced that females very rarely choose professions such as mechatronics, IT or engineering. They have long tried to win over more women for mathematical/scientific courses and technical occupations through intensive public relations work and numerous initiatives and programs (1). The industry wants to increase their staff pool: for them, an increase in the absolute number of engineers is a success. This is precisely what has happened in recent years: given good career prospects, more women than ever before have begun to study engineering sciences. At the same time, more men have also taken such a study. In mechanical engineering more than 80% and in electrical engineering almost 90% of the students are male (2).

For advocates of "gender mainstreaming", technical professions as a man's domain is a continuing nuisance (3). They’re not thinking about the next generation of engineers, rather about leveling gender differences. The boys’ preference for technical careers is deemed just as odd to them as girls’ preference for a career in health and education. Boys and girls should be educated more intensely in order to discover their "talents beyond traditional gender-role models" (4). Instead of normal professional advice, this is guided by the ideal of equality. Information materials of the Federal Labour Office as "MINT & social for you" put their "focus on gender-atypical career choices" (5). They want males to frequently take the occupations which they want to remove from females because they would have too little income and career opportunities. Such manipulation attempts have hardly any success. As before, more than 90 percent of the staff working in daycare are women.

What are the reasons for the "Gender Gap" in choosing a career? For supporters of the gender paradigm, the blame lies with the echo of a patriarchal culture that expected rationality, acquisition and striving for power from men and emotion, family life and caring from women. However, the Cultural Revolution of the late 20th Century made ??a radical break with the traditional model of the housewife and mother. Employment and careers are, in the opinion of the gender mainstream, already the new duty of women, who are to give their children into institutional care for it, such as the role model of the Nordic countries, where women are employed almost just as frequently as men (6). However, in these countries, daycare centers and nursing stations are for females and mechanic workshops are male domains. Even the strict Scandinavian gender equality policies against the "stereotypes" in career choices do not seem to bear fruit (7). It seems confusing that in Northern Europe, women in permissive countries choose even more rarely to study for Science and Engineering than in more "traditional" countries like India.

This "gender paradox" can be explained by looking at the preferences of women: In poor countries, like India, economic constraints determine the choice of profession, so career oriented women often take lucrative professions such as computer science. In affluent countries such as Norway, women have more opportunities to succeed in the career of their own choice. Instead of programming machines they choose to work with people as a teacher or a doctor (8). Freedom of choice is a bit of a poor fit for "gender mainstreaming”, so its proponents tend to resort to dirigism. They do not want to accept, rather to change gender-specific professional preferences of young people. For the Federal Government, this is an "ongoing educational and socio-political task" (9). One should ask: Isn't this official government feminism quite paternalistic?


(1) See “Gender career choices of young women and their situation in the education system” - response of the Federal Government to the "small request" of the deputies and the faction "Die Linke", German Bundestag - 17 Legislature - Printed Document: 17/9477, pp. 41-42. One of the many brochures of this type was called "ROBERTA - Girls Discover Robots" (Ibid, p.41)
(2) Ibid, pp.43-44
(3) Particular occupations such as mechanic, electrician or mechatronics are a male domain, while women often dominate laboratory assistant training programs. See: “Proportion of women in technical Ausbildungsberufen” (figure below). The more one considers the occupational groups, the sharper the gender differences are observed in terms of career choices
(4) “With the Girls' Day and Boys' Day, the federal government allows girls and boys to discover their own interests, strengths, abilities and talent beyond gender- traditional role models", Bundestagsdrucksache, 17/9477, as above, p.4
( 5) Ibid p.18
(6) The woman’s principle guide of the present policy: http://www.i-daf.org/453-0-Wochen-10-11-2012.html
(7) Empirical studies question the popular image of gender equality in Northern Europe: The smallest gender differences are not found in countries such as Sweden but in China. Even the narrowest "gender pay gap" is therefore not to be found in Northern Europe but in countries such as Swaziland and Sri Lanka. See Catherine Hakim “Women, careers and work-life preferences”, pp.279-294, in British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, Vol 34, No. 3/2006, p.284
(8) C. Hakim impressively shows that internationally varying but very similar differences in career choices, working time preferences and career paths can not only or not primarily be explained as a result of "discrimination". Ibid, pp.284-285. The helplessness of followers of the "gender" paradigm towards empirical research results is shown in an equally informative and entertaining film from Norway (with English subtitles): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5LRdW8xw70
(9) Bundestagsdrucksache, 17/9477, as above, p.29